Eskom price hike hearings begin in GP

Nersa’s public hearings on Eskom's proposed tariff hikes begin in Gauteng on Wednesday.

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

PRETORIA - The National Energy Regulator of South Africa's (Nersa) public hearings on Eskom's proposed tariff hikes will start in Gauteng on Wednesday.

Eskom has applied to raise electricity prices by 16 percent per year over the next five years.

Demonstrators are expected to throng the entrance to Gallagher Estate in Midrand, where the Gauteng hearings will taking place.

Among the organisations expected to make presentations are the Congress of South African Trade Unions, the National Union of Metalworkers of SA and the SA National Civic Organisation.

Smaller organisations and individuals are also expected to voice their concerns.

Cosatu has already staged protests at the previous hearings in Port Elizabeth and Polokwane.

It has also complained the hearings are not being held in poorer areas.

Cosatu's Dumisani Dakile said the masses will rise up against this.

"Cosatu in Gauteng is rejecting the proposed price increase as it will negatively affect the workers. The proposed increases are going to exacerbate the high levels of unemployment, poverty and inequality in our country."

'ESKOM HIKE NOT JUSTIFIABLE'

Meanwhile, an advisor to the National Planning Commission said on Wednesday Eskom's application for the tariff hike is no longer justifiable.

Since 2007 the price of power has increased by more than 300 percent.

Professor Anton Eberhard said government needs to help the regulator in finding a more appropriate electricity price path.

"That's the price path that enables us to be competitive, but it's also a price cost that meets Eskom's operating costs. It needs to be a levelised cost which should try to smooth out some of these big price spikes that we've been having as well."

The public participation process in Gauteng ends on Thursday.