THE Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chamber said in a media statement that it is extremely disappointed by the news of Eskom’s request for a 19.9% tariff increase next year.The National Energy Regulator of South Africa (Nersa) recently announced its intention to commence with regulatory processes in considering Eskom’s revenue application for 2018/19. The Business Chamber deems an increase of this magnitude as crippling in the current economic climate and, if implemented, it could have disastrous consequences for local business and the economy.Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chamber president Thomas Schaefer said a 19.9% increase would be commercially devastating in the current economic climate. The 19.9% increase is expected to translate to a 27.5% municipal tariff adjustment on July 1, next year.“Not only will such an increase be crippling, but in view of the recent disclosures and reports regarding rampant maladministration and governance failures at Eskom, business and commerce is compelled to continue in its endeavours to hold both Eskom and the Regulator accountable for their actions, in the interest of the public,” Schaefer said.On top of the proposed 19% increase, it is feared that Eskom will also be seeking to recoup additional revenue in relation to the expired MYPD3 period (extending from 2013 – 2018) of up to R60 billion. “No decision has yet been made as to how the regulator would deal with this, but given the severe impact on members and the public if Eskom is allowed to recover the proposed tariff increases within next year’s electricity tariff hike, the Business Chamber believes it has no option but to continue lobbying on behalf of our members on this crucial issue.”Schaefer said they are calling on all businesses, locally and nationally, to make their voices heard by submitting written comments before the set deadline of October 13. “We want to assure our members that the Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chamber will be making robust submissions, as well as attend the public hearings in the Eastern Cape and elsewhere in the country, if required. We call on our members to attend the hearing on November 1 in PE to show their support,” he said. Eskom’s revenue application for 2018/19 is available on the NERSA website at www.nersa.org.za Members who wish to attend the public hearing on November 1 must submit their requests to firstname.lastname@example.org by 3:30pm on October 23.