Eskom public hearings to begin

Registered members of the public can take part in the Eskom tariff hike hearings on Tuesday.

Eskom's Megawatt Park offices in Sunninghill. Picture: Taurai Maduna/EWN

CAPE TOWN - The National Energy Regulator of South Africa (Nersa) at the weekend said the public and various unions will be given the chance to voice their concerns about Eskom's tariff hike request.

The energy giant last year applied for a 16 percent tariff increase over the next five years.

Members of the public, the City of Cape Town and the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) are expected to make submissions at the Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC) on Tuesday morning.

Nersa's Charles Hlebela said the submissions will impact Nersa's final decision, which is expected to be made next month.

He said Eskoms wants the increase to mitigate increases in operation costs.

"Some of the costs they have indicated include operation costs, issues of primary energy and issues related to maintenance. According to Eskom of the 16 percent they applied for, 13 percent is for Eskom operations."

He said a resolution is expected to be made at the end of next month.

"The energy regulator is now giving stakeholders and the public a platform to make oral presentations. These comments and views will be taken into consideration when making the final decision."

Meanwhile, the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) is due to hold a series of pickets during the course of January, in protest against Eskom's proposed electricity price hikes.

Numsa at the weekend said a snap survey conducted by the union among 10 companies, which are energy-intensive, showed that 37.5 percent of them anticipated they would have to shut their doors due to the increase.

The union's secretary general, Irvin Jim, said "Eskom tariffs have been so exorbitant, to a point where we have massively lost jobs."

Eskom Public Hearing Schedule:

15 January:

Western Cape - Cape Town International Convention Centre.

16 January:

Eastern Cape - Summerstrand Hotel on Marine Drive.

17 January:

KwaZulu-Natal - Durban International Convention Centre.

21 January:

Free State - Mangaung Metro Council Building.

22 January:

Northern Cape - Christian Revival Church in Kimberely.

23 January:

North West - Elgro Hotel, Potchefstroom.

25 January:

Mpumalanga - Orion Hotel, Nelspruit.

29 Janauary:

Limpopo - Jack Botes Hall, Polokwane.

30 and 31 January:

Gauteng - Gallagher Convention Centre, Midrand.

All the hearings will begin at 8:30am and close at 5pm.

For more details, contact: 012 401 4715/4033.