PMB cotton mill’s electricity bill rockets from R4 mln to R19 mln in five years

2013-03-08 00:00

THE electricity bill of Prilla Mills, a leading employer and manufacturer of cotton yarn in Pietermaritzburg, went up from R4 million to R19 million a year in just five years.

The mill’s sales and marketing manager, Ryan Miranda, told the district growth and development summit yesterday that Prilla was paying substantially more for electricity, yet there was no improvement in the supply. The quality of electricity was extremely poor, he said.

“Just last month we had to bring in experts because electronic equipment had been damaged as a result of an outage, and we had to pay over R400 000 for the repairs.

“These experts told us that the quality of the electricity supplied to Prilla was the lowest in the entire country,” Miranda said.

He pleaded with District Mayor Yusuf Bhamjee to address the situation and told delegates to ponder the issue.

“You need to dwell on this issue. How can industry survive with these kinds of increases?” he asked.

Miranda said the company was owned by the Industrial Development Corporation and committed to growing jobs in the textile sector in KZN.

The industry had been hard hit by imports from China and India, but the situation was slowly turning around, thanks to various government incentives, he added.

For Prilla, these benefits were being cancelled by the cost of electricity.

Another problem was the failure of the South African Revenue Service (SARS) to control the under-invoicing of imported clothing, said Miranda. He said this resulted in a loss of R2,6 billion per year to the fiscus.

Miranda said the industry would soon meet SARS to address the problem and results were expected shortly.

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