Power tariff hikes: Ball now in Eskom's court

The regulator says if it approves an increase, it can only be implemented in the next financial year.

Eskom's head office in Johannesburg. Picture: Reinart Toerien/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Eskom says it will not be withdrawing its application to the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (Nersa) for a 25.3 percent electricity tariff hike.

Eskom has requested a 25.3 percent price hike, of which 12 percent has already been approved.

On Tuesday Nersa indicated that if it approved an increase, it could only be implemented in the next financial year.

It says this means it's now up to Eskom to continue with the application or not.

The utility's Khulu Phasiwe says at this stage there are no plans to back-track.

"Eskom hasn't taken a formal decision on the matter and what this means is that we have submitted submissions to the regulator. If there's any decision to withdraw it we will communicate that with the regulator."

Public hearings are set to take place at the end of the month, just before Nersa makes its final decision.

Last week, Nersa said it wanted evidence of efficient financial operations at Eskom as it prepared to consider the power utility's application for another tariff hike.

Nersa said it wanted to see that funds allocated for expenses such as fuel and other operating costs had been used effectively.