Durbanites to fork out more for electricity

2011-02-23 18:51

Durban residents can gear up for an electricity tariff hike of at least 22% from June when new prices, ratified by the eThekwini Municipality’s Executive Committee (Exco), are put in place.

However, the hike may be even steeper as bulk supply from Eskom escalated by 26.7% in the last financial year and the new increase still has to be ratified by the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (Nersa). The increases were tabled at the Exco meeting yesterday ahead of today’s full council meeting at which the city’s budget for the 2011/2012 financial year was tabled.

eThekwini’s overall budget is a whopping R28.1 billion, with the city planning to spend significantly on labour intensive job creation projects and running some 6 000 community gardens to improve food security in poor communities.

The city’s controversial Ushaka Marine World – which has been bailed out several times over the last five years – is set to cost taxpayers an additional R36 million for the 2011/12 financial year.

eThekwini will spend more than R23 billion on its operating budget, which includes salaries, bulk electricity and water purchases; repairs and maintenance of infrastructure, while R4 billion will be spent on capital projects. The reduced capital budget is attributed to the completion of the World Cup projects, including the revamp of the city beachfront and the building of the Moses Mabhida stadium.

Of the operating budget, the largest cut goes to salaries (22%) and bulk electricity and water purchases (30%) with the latter being recovered from consumers.

eThekwini has also increased its new development budget to R84.3 million, with another R6 million set aside for upgrading council housing and R240 million for the city’s hostels, whose arrears to the city have been written off.The city will also fund its film office to the tune of R2.7 million and will spend another R8.4 million on reforestation projects at Bufflesdraai and Inanda Dam to the north of the city. It will fund the tourism indaba to the tune of R11.9 million.

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