Protest at Eskom tariff hike hearings

A group of people are protesting outside the Gallagher Convention Centre in Midrand, where Nersa is holding public hearings on Eskom’s proposed tariff hike.

Around 100 people, many dressed in red T-shirts, carried placards and blocked the gate to the premises.

Some of the placards read: “Eskom’s application equals job losses and inflation” and “Link electricity tariff increases to inflation”.

Two men wrapped in plastic, with electric cables around their necks, sprawled on the ground. Above their heads were cardboard tombstones with the words: “RIP Eskom, you are killing us”.

Several elderly people were among the protesters. One of the protesters shouted that Eskom was denying them their basic right to electricity.

Besides the proposed electricity hike, the group said they were against nuclear energy. According to one placard, this was a “Nuclear Fukushima”.

Eskom had applied to Nersa for an electricity price increase of 16% every year for the next five years.

This would more than double the price of electricity over five years, taking it from 61c a kilowatt hour in 2012/13 to 128c a kWh in 2017/18.

Earlier, Eskom’s finance director, Paul O’Flaherty, told the hearing it needed the increase to maintain revenue and cover operating costs, among other things.

He said if Eskom merely minimised operating costs, as had been suggested, the servicing of machinery would be neglected and there would have to be massive staff reductions.

The Nersa hearings, chaired by Thembani Bukula, are being held to gather views on Eskom’s multiyear price determination application.

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