Eskom faces backlash from unions, big business over proposed tariff hike

The power utility is holding hearings in Cape Town over its application to recover R22.8 billion.

Picture: Reinart Toerien/EWN

CAPE TOWN - Eskom has been facing a backlash at public hearings around its application for another tariff hike.

The power utility is looking for over R22 billion to help keep the lights on.

The hearings started in Cape Town yesterday.

As expected, big business and unions, among others, have not taken kindly to Eskom's application to recover R22.8 billion.

If the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (Nersa) approves the parastatal's application, consumers can expect a tariff hike of over 16 percent.

Executive director at the Cape Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Sid Peimer, says there's a lack of transparency at the parastatal.

"The overuse of gas turbines probably reflects a combination of poor demand forecasting and breakdowns in the coal-fired power stations."

Agri Wes Cape CEO Carl Opperman has also opposed Eskom's request.

"At the end of the day, we cannot afford these increases. Not with the drought and the economic climate we're sitting in at the moment."

But the utility says some of the submissions were loaded with emotion and not balanced.