Eskom begged to cut costs instead of increasing tariffs

The power utility has been lambasted at public hearings into an application for a further R22.8 billion.

Picture: Reinart Toerien/EWN.

CAPE TOWN - Eskom has been implored to cut costs instead of increase electricity tariffs.

The power utility has been lambasted at public hearings into an application for a further R22.8 billion from the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (Nersa).

Big business, unions and civil society organisations say it will result in a 16 percent electricity price hike if approved.

Public Hearings into Eskom's application for a further R22.8 billion from Nersa has heard claims an electricity price increase could result in a bigger migration towards alternative energy sources.

The Cape Chamber of Commerce and Industry's Sid Peimer has also questioned Eskom's use of diesel, which ballooned from a projected R2 billion to R8 billion in just one year.

"The question we have is why does Eskom use the more expensive diesel fuel when you could just paraffin. We've spoken to the oil industry and they confirmed the two are exactly the same when they leave the refinery."

Eskom has also been criticised for appointing four different chairpersons and making many changes to top management over the past six years.

There are growing calls for Nersa to turn down Eskom's multi-billion rand application.

The Southern African Faith Communities Environment Institute's Liz McDaid said, "They've all this unplanned stuff; we're trying to fix our problems and we still need the increase today. I think we have to say 'enough is enough'; we are getting different singers singing the same song. Maybe Eskom needs to change the song sheet, not only the singers."

Today is the last day of public hearings in Cape Town -Before they move to Port Elizabeth, Durban and Midrand.