Can you sue Eskom for loadshedding damage or loss?

John received an email letter that is doing the rounds, that claims you can sue Eskom for damage or loss caused by / due to loadshedding.

The letter, addressed to Eskom, reads as follows:

"I hereby place on record that I intend holding Eskom Holdings Limited liable for direct losses incurred due to any of the following occurrences as a result of Eskoms failure to provide electrical supply as per it’s mandate and exclusivity;

  1. Direct damage caused to household appliances as a result of load-shedding.
  2. Direct losses incurred as a result of burglary and/ or theft while my home alarm system is rendered inoperable due to inability to access the electrical supply for any time in excess of 1 hour from the beginning of load shedding deemed to be the lifespan of my backup battery.
  3. Medical expenses arising as a result of injuries that may be sustained subject to my proving that these would not have occurred had there been access to electrical supply at the time.

Further to the above, I notify you that I expect and hereby demand a refund confirmed in writing for period of time pro-rata where supply has not been provided. As Eskom charges a daily fee for access to supply it is reasonable and justifiable that the portion of time in which supply has not been available is refunded in the form of credit. I expect a detailed breakdown to be provided to me in writing of such refund and setting forth when this will be made."

Is this letter real? Or fabricated? Are there aspects within the law that can make provision for holding Eskom liable for damage or loss?

Litigator with Dingley Marshall Attorneys Hayley Langdon says the burden of proof on the complainant would be huge, and showing Eskom was negligent in a court would be highly unlikely:

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