Electricity price to increase in 2013

The National Energy Regulator of South Africa expects to increase electricity prices in April 2013.

The National Energy Regulator of South Africa (Nersa) will hold nationwide public hearings on the proposed electricity price increase in January 2013.

CAPE TOWN - The National Energy Regulator of South Africa (Nersa) will hold nationwide public hearings on the proposed electricity price increase in April 2013.

In the next two weeks, Nersa will receive Eskom's application for a price increase.

The regulator has to approve the hike for the next five years.

Eskom's Hillary Joffe said a stable and secure supply of electricity is critical for economic growth.

"As a country we need to build huge new power stations to support demand for power in the future."

The energy department's Matthew Bantsijang said the country's electricity prices were competitive with developing countries.

"When you look at our price of electricity compared to other countries, the electricity price of South Africa has been very low, even in developing countries like India."

In the past three years, South Africans have been slapped with high electricity price increases of as much as 25 percent.

In March, Nersa reduced the increase to 16 percent.

The new increase will take effect in April 2013.

Nersa will publish Eskom's application for consultation at the end of this month.

"The regulator has a very extensive process of public hearings and public consultation. We'll be participating in that, and we very much encourage South African's to participate in that process."