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Nearly two months after President Cyril Ramaphosa said he told Eskom to reconsider its application for a tariff hike, SA's energy regulator confirmed that the 18.65% increase for this year will go ahead, although with 18.49% jump for municipalities, and only a 10% increase for poorer households.
The National Energy Regulator of SA (Nersa) said on Thursday that Eskom submitted a revised application on 2 March for an increase of only 10% for Homelight 20 Amp customers - which tend to be poorer, lower-consumption users in informal settlements or those with small households. Nersa approved the application.
The standard tariff increase of 18.65% for industrial and urban consumers will still be implemented in April. However, municipalities will face a 18.49% increase from June.
"Municipalities will realise a lower increase of 18.49% because, in the first three months (April to June) of Eskom’s financial year, they will not experience an increase, as their financial year commences on 1 July every year," Nersa said in a statement.
"The municipalities cannot increase their tariffs in the middle of their financial year, as it would not correspond with the revenue to be achieved from licensed municipal distributors. In this regard, Eskom will over-recover revenues in the first three months… of its financial year, hence municipalities will only experience an increase of 18.49% as opposed to the 18.65% that the rest of Eskom’s customers will see."
In January Ramaphosa told an ANC Free State event that that he asked Eskom to halt the tariff hike amid ongoing load shedding.
READ | Eskom hits back at Ramaphosa on tariffs: Costs don't just disappear
Eskom responded in a statement several days later that those "aggrieved" by the upcoming tariff hike will have to lodge a court application to challenge the energy regulator's decision.
"If Eskom does not recover from the consumer, then the burden on the taxpayer increases. Thus efficient costs will need to be recovered – they do not just disappear," the power utility said.