Cosatu still concerned by power tariff hike

Cosatu said the poor and struggling small businesses will still have to tighten their belts.

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

PRETORIA - The Congress of South African Trade Union (Cosatu) on Wednesday said the poor and struggling small businesses will still have to tighten their belts, despite the lower than expected electricity tariff hike.

Earlier in the day, the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (Nersa) announced an eight percent electricity tariff increase per year for the next five years.

Eskom had requested a 16 percent hike over five years, a figure many said would cripple the economy and fuel unemployment.

Cosatu spokesperson Patrick Craven welcomed the reduced hike, but he said it was still too much for some.

"Eight percent is still about three percent above inflation, so it will still cause hardship to individuals and struggling businesses."

Nersa received more than 200 objections and 162 oral representations.

Craven said this had an impact on the decision.

"This is a much bigger reduction in Eskom's application and this must be counted as a victory for the people."

The increase means electricity will cost 89 cents per kilowatt hour in 2018.

EE Publishing's Chris Yelland said this should put a smile on face of consumers.

"This will come as a huge relief to the public and the economy, commerce and the man on the street."

Nersa also announced that the increase for low income households will be inflation-linked.