Power Crisis

Households crank up power usage

2008-11-06 21:40

Special Report

Eskom may seek 34% tariff hike

Eskom is set to seek a 34% hike in electricity tariffs, back from the 88% rise it had been considering due to the global economic slowdown, a newspaper says.

Johannesburg - Year-on-year (y/y) growth in electricity consumption and production surprised to the upside in September, and the latest figures may thus explain why the government and Eskom have recently expressed concern that electricity consumption has not declined sufficiently and that the country could be faced with renewed load shedding in January.

It is not clear as to what triggered the declining trend of electricity consumption to be reversed in September, as both domestic and international economic growth have been declining for several months now.

In addition, there has been reduction in production and investment by the metal processing industries, which are very electricity intensive.

The only conclusion to be drawn is therefore that consumers have assumed that load shedding is a thing of the past and have begun to be complacent and negligent about saving electricity.

According to today's data, y/y growth in electricity consumption rose to 0.0% in September from -2.8% in August. Seasonally adjusted month-on-month (m/m) growth was up sharply by 1.2% (from -1.9% in August).

The 0.0% y-o-y growth in September's electricity consumption was the first month in which non-negative growth had been recorded since April (and April's figure was artificially boosted by statistical factors related to the Easter public holidays).

The average growth in electricity consumption for the Q3 (-1.2%) was still in negative territory and relatively on par with Q2 (-1.3%). The average growth for the first nine months of 2008 of -1.1% is significantly lower than the year-to-date growth for the comparable period in 2007 (4.8%), which highlights the efforts this year by consumers to use less energy.

Year-on-year growth in electricity production increased markedly to -0.7% in September from -3.2% in August. Seasonally adjusted m/m growth was up sharply by 1.3% from -1.5% in August.

However, on a quarterly basis the figures do not look so dismal. The average growth for Q3 of 2008 of -1.8% was lower than Q2's average of -1.4%, while the year to date figure for 2008 of -1.0% is significantly lower than the 4.1% recorded for the corresponding period in 2007.

Year on year growth in electricity imports slowed further in September to 1.8% from 3.0% in August and a recent high of 13.9% in June. Year-to-date (January to September) growth in electricity imports showed a decrease of -8.4%.

In contrast to imports, y/y growth in electricity exports increased in September to 1.0% from -2.6% in August and the average year-to-date growth was negative at -2.8%.

- I-Net Bridge

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