Nersa holds public hearings on Eskom tariff hike

2019-01-23 06:01

GRANTING power utility Eskom the 15% annual tariff hike it has asked for will only add pressure to already struggling households, the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (Nersa) heard on the second day of public hearings.

The energy regulator, which sets prices and tariffs for Eskom, started public hearings in Cape Town on Monday regarding what the debt-laden power utility will be allowed to charge for electricity in years ahead, and what it can recoup from shortfalls in 2017/18.

The annual hearings, which invite testimony from businesses, energy experts, government officials and members of the public, will take place nationwide over three weeks.

Eskom has applied for a 15% annual tariff increase every year for the next three years, and has also applied to recover losses made in the 2017/18 financial year.

Yesterday, members of the public from Cape Town argued against the 15% increases. Joyce Malebu, from Gugulethu, put forward the plight of her community, who she said are mostly unemployed and pensioners surviving on government grants.

“The increase from Eskom will have a negative impact on the poorest of the poor, the standard of living will be worsened. We want authorities to consider the negative impact on our lifestyle,” she told the panel.

General manager of regulations at Eskom, Hasha Tlhotlhalemaje, responded to the concerns raised on behalf of the power utility. “We do understand the challenges and the difficulties that many of the various communities across the country experience and we sympathise with that,” she said.

“Unfortunately Eskom is not in a position to make policy decisions, Eskom is just an implementer of policy decisions.”

The hearings will resume in Port Elizabeth today.

— Fin24.

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