Business groups oppose power hikes

The South African Chamber of Mines says businesses are already under strain.

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

MIDRAND - The South African Chamber of Mines on Thursday added its voice to the chorus of objections to Eskom's proposed electricity tariff hike.

The body made its submission at the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (Nersa)'s public hearings on the issue in Midrand, north of Johannesburg.

The parastatal is asking for a 16 percent price increase every year, for the next five years.

The chamber's Roger Baxter said big business was already under strain.

"The electricity price for industrial users has gone up by 238 percent in the last five years."

He said the increases have already created challenges.

Baxter warned the hikes could affect the viability of some businesses and warned that companies could collapse.

He suggested Eskom consider price competitiveness and cost efficiency objectives.

"The dividends from Eskom are not just about the financial balance sheet of Eskom. It is also about having a cost-competitive and reliable electricity supply for the country's economic objectives."

Earlier, Business Unity South Africa said Eskom could save as much as R150 billion if it ran its operations more efficiently.