It’s important to note that Eskom’s application for a 15% tariff increase is over and above the 4.41% raise already granted to the utility by the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (NERSA) earlier this year.
Eskom is looking to increase national electricity tariffs by at least 15% in 2019 – this application will be open to public comment in January.
The public hearing’s process marks the next step in Eskom’s crusade to amass more cash. Recent financial statements paint a grim picture for the power utility; losses eclipsing R10 billion with maturing debt set to reach R600 billion by 2022.
Eskom out to make The People pay
While mounting evidence points to the cause of Eskom’s economic woes being deep-seated corruption, nepotism and mismanagement – the state owned enterprise is placing the burden of its financial em-battlement solely on the shoulders of ordinary South African citizens.
It’s true that defaulting municipalities owe Eskom in excess of R30 billion – the power utility is adopting some fierce debt-collection strategies to recoup funds. Still, in a time of economic strife, when most South Africans are barely managing to make ends meet, an electricity tariff increase of at least 15% has the propensity to break the backs of small businesses and locals alike.
It’s important to note that Eskom’s application for a 15% tariff increase is over and above the 4.41% raise already granted to the utility by the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (NERSA) earlier this year. These increases will take effect in April 2019.
You don’t need to be a soothsayer to guess the outcome of the public hearing’s process. For most of December, South Africa has suffered under the disruptive weight of intermittent load shedding. Eskom admits that the rotational power cuts are the result of a poor maintenance plan. The lack of upkeep has forced several vital generating units offline – straining the national power grid and harming the local economy.
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Again, Eskom has, in a roundabout way, put the blame on the consumer.
Eskom wishes to raise the cost of electricty by 90%
Worryingly, the utility’s inept power plant preservation programme isn’t Eskom’s most pressing problem. Eskom’s coal reserves are dwindling at an alarming rate. This is due to a dodgy tender deal inked with Gupta-owned mining and explorations company, Tegeta – which is now under business rescue administration.
So, as the coal stockpiles diminish, and lights flicker at the mere whisper of load shedding, Eskom has resolved to fix it’s sticky predicament by making the consumer pay more for, what has proven to be, an incompetent service.
Still, South Africans should count themselves lucky, according to Eskom’s spokesperson, Khulu Phasiwe, who says that the utility is entitled to increase electricity tariffs by 90%. Thanks to Eskom’s benevolence, citizens will only have to pay 50% more for electricity in three years. On the looming public hearing’s process, Phasiwe said:
“Public hearing dates across all 9 provinces, to debate Eskom’s application for 15% for each one the next 3 years. Eskom argues that the current tariffs aren’t cost-reflective, and therefore need to be adjusted upwards. Please send your comments to energy regulator, Nersa.” (National Energy Regulator of South Africa, contact number 012 401 4600 or [email protected])
The public participation process begins on 14 January 2019 and ends on 4 February 2019.
This news release does not necessarily reflect the opinion of SA-news.
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