JOHANNESBURG – The 9,4 percent electricity tariff hike approved by the National Energy Regulator of SA (Nersa) would put an extra burden on consumers who were forced to carry Eskom’s “inefficiencies”, the Congress of SA Trade Unions (Cosatu) said on Tuesday.
“The Congress of South African Trade Unions is utterly opposed to the 9,4 percent tariff increase that Nersa has awarded to Eskom, and strongly feels that consumers are being forced to carry the burden of Eskom’s inefficiencies.
“Workers and their families have already been slapped with increases in personal income tax last year and the fuel levy this year.
“The costs of other basic services like health are also rising,” said spokesman Sizwe Pamla.
He said consumers could not afford any further increases and would be devastated by the Nersa decision.
“This will actually plunge even more people into poverty. Going forward these tariff increases will have dire consequences for the economy and job creation.
“This will be exacerbated by the fact that municipalities will also add on this increase and then all that will be passed on to the consumers.”
Nersa announced a 9,4 percent hike, effective from April 1, through which Eskom would be able to recover R11.2-billion from standard tariff customers.
Eskom had applied for a 16.6 percent tariff increase in November last year.
The Chamber of Mines said it noted the decision by Nersa, and added that any more electricity hikes would put struggling mining companies further into the red.
“While this increase is significantly higher than inflation, it is more palatable than the 16 percent Eskom applied for in both the MYPDA and RCA processes.
“However, for the struggling mining sector this increase will have a major impact on increasing the industry’s cost base,” said CEO Roger Baxter.
Pamla called on Energy Minister Tina Joemat-Petterson to “do her job and protect consumers” from exorbitant increases, and ensure that Eskom cuts wasteful expenditure.
“This crisis again points to the urgent need for government to massively invest in quick, affordable and safe renewable energy and to once and for all scrap the clearly unaffordable, dangerous and time consuming nuclear energy plan,” he said.
“Eskom pleads poverty and demands massive price increases, yet it can afford to give R40-million to The New Age for its breakfast shows, to spend R30-million on end of year parties and pay huge bonuses to clearly non-performing executives.”
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