Eskom won’t get tariff hike, says war room expert

Professor Anton Eberhard. (Photo: Twitter)
Professor Anton Eberhard. (Photo: Twitter)

Cape Town – The National Energy Regulator (Nersa) will not grant Eskom the 24.78% electricity tariff increase, according to a member of the energy war room.

Energy expert Professor Anton Eberhard, who is a member of Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa’s advisory war room tweeted on Tuesday that Nersa would not grant the increase Eskom is seeking.

The state utility and other stakeholders were taking part in Nersa’s public hearings on Tuesday and Wednesday, after Eskom applied for a further increase in what is termed the MYPD3 (third multiyear price determination) Selective Re-opener.

Nersa had already approved a 12.69% tariff increase for 2015/2016, but Eskom is seeking a further 9.58% increase to fund its various power initiatives to stem load shedding and improve time on maintenance. There is also a 2.51% tariff increase request that is on hold, pending government's expected gazetting of the environmental levy increase.

However, the highly respected professor, who heads up the Management Programme in Infrastructure Reform and Regulation at the Graduate School of Business in Cape Town, said this increase would be dismissed.

“No chance Eskom will get 25% tariff increase,” he tweeted. “Nersa will dispute calculation or rule application is moot as can't be implemented before 2016.”

Earlier in the proceedings on Tuesday, acting Eskom CEO Brian Molefe was caught off guard by Nersa chairperson Thembani Bukula’s statement that Eskom could only get the increase next year.

Bukula said Molefe should have known this, especially because it had a letter written from Eskom to Treasury, stating that the increases could only be implemented in 2016.

Molefe, who conceded that he was “still new at Eskom”, asked to see the letter and Nersa said he could answer the question later in the proceedings.

Molefe, who is officially the Transnet CEO, was seconded to run Eskom in an acting capacity on April 17 after Tshediso Matona was first suspended and then resigned as Eskom CEO on May 18.

Nersa will make a decision about the tariff increase request by the end of June.

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