The power utility has approached the courts to review the National Energy Regulator of South Africa’s decision to deduct a R69-billion bailout from Eskom’s approved revenue for the current tariff period.
Eskom on Tuesday said it must hike consumer tariffs to avert a complete financial meltdown.
The parastatal said this meant it would need steeper tariff hikes from the approved 8.1% this financial year to 16%.
The energy regulator’s decision to classify government’s R69 billion bailout to Eskom as revenue means Eskom will get less from consumers.
For this reason, the parastatal wants higher consumer tariffs over the next two years.
Eskom’s Hasha Tlhotlhalemaje said that besides increased tariffs this year, it would also need more than the 5.2% hike approved for next year.
“And this 5.23% increase, which 2.2% is accounted for by independent power producers, leaves Eskom with a 3% nominal increase. Now any household, let alone Eskom, cannot function that way.”
She said Eskom remained well aware of the financial situation of consumers but stressed the company needed to be sustainable.
Consumers fight back
By midnight on Monday, when the deadline expired for the public to comment on Eskom’s proposed tariff increases to the National Energy Regulator of SA (Nersa), energy activist group DearSA, sent Nersa over 171 896 comments it had received on its website from consumers.
Energy expert Ted Bloem said: “If we allow Eskom to succeed, we will see a substantial jump in the current tariffs.
As the increase is over and above Eskom’s annual tariff hikes, in reality your electricity costs will double within two years,” he pointed out.
Bloem will be representing the public and opposing the tariff hike application at each official Nersa hearing, to be held in all the provinces.