Call to protest tariffs

2015-06-02 11:01
Electricity pylons in Beaufort West. Nersa is holding public hearings on Eskom's proposed revenue price determination. (Picture: Chris Kirchhoff/MCSA)

Electricity pylons in Beaufort West. Nersa is holding public hearings on Eskom's proposed revenue price determination. (Picture: Chris Kirchhoff/MCSA)

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THE Pietermaritzburg Agency for Community Social Action (Pacsa) has called on all residents and businesses to take a stand against Eskom’s increase in electricity tariffs.

A meeting will be held at the Pacsa offices today to plan what steps the community and businesses will take to stop the electricity hike.

The National Energy Regulator (Nersa) will be making its final decision on the increase at the end of June and Pacsa says action needs to be taken before month-end.

“Eskom’s increase comes at a time when the majority of working-class households are struggling to put food on the table … a 25,3% increase in electricity tariffs will have a devastating impact on South African households and our future trajectory as a nation,” said Pacsa’s Julie Smith.

In Pietermaritzburg, the 25,3% increase will move the monthly electricity expenditure for households on prepaid meters (using a low average of 350 kWh per month) from R465,50 to R584,50.

Pacsa argues that an increase in electricity levels will directly impact on food purchased and an increase in electricity theft.

“Health, well-being and productivity come from the body. Eating less food or food of poorer nutritional value adversely affects our education, health and economic outcomes. It might also have the effect of forcing people to tamper with electricity because they cannot afford that essential service,” said Smith.

Pacsa research shows South Africa’s latest poverty lines indicating that 53,8% of South Africans live below R779 a month, of whom 11 million people live on less than the food poverty line of R335 a month or R11,17 a day.

“We can no longer afford to pay the excessive amounts that Eskom is demanding. Our pockets can no longer fund Eskom. The pension was only increased by R60,” she said.

Pacsa is inviting residents and businesses to a meeting at its offices in Hoosen Haffajee (Berg) Street to plan a broad societal response that would protest the 25,3% increase.

“We need to convince Nersa to reject this increase. We would like to see as many people as possible across all sectors of society take part in this action. Please invite other people and organisations to join,” Smith urged.

The Pacsa meeting will take place today at 5.30 pm at the Pacsa offices (170 Hoosen Haffajee Street)

For more information call Julie Smith at 033 3420 052 or e-mail Julie@pacsa.org.za

Read more on:    eskom  |  pietermaritzburg  |  electricity tariffs

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