Eskom argues for 'larger than usual' tariff increase

Eskom argues it's pumped more than R66 billion into infrastructure and it needs to start recouping that money.

 Picture: EWN

CAPE TOWN - Eskom is arguing a case for a larger than usual tariff increase, saying it's trying to balance the books in the wake of three heavy spending years.

The parastatal has to ask the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (Nersa) for permission to increase electricity tariffs.

Last year, it wanted to put up the price by 20% but Nersa sent it packing with a 5,2% increase.

Eskom argues it's pumped more than R66 billion into infrastructure and it needs to start recouping that money.

The parastatal has presented its case for a tariff increase to Nersa, explaining its latest application is to try and make back the money that has been spent to keep the lights on over the past three financial years.

The state-owned enterprise (SOE) is also trying to allay fears of a major price shock with some anticipating a 30% tariff increase.

Eskom's regulation general manager Hasha Tlhotlhalemaje says they don't expect Nersa to allow an instant adjustment in tariffs, but it would likely be phased over a period of several years, starting in 2019.

“It would balance the requirements for the sustainability of Eskom and what the consumers will be able to tolerate so this process is looking at the efficiency and prudency that is being made.”

Trade union Cosatu has previously said it will call on Nersa to reject Eskom's application, saying it's an assault on middle-class families and the economy.