Decline of tariff increase will be catastrophic for economy, Eskom tells Nersa

Eskom wants a 16.6% tariff hike in April and 16.72% next year.

Picture: EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Eskom on Monday told the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (Nersa) that denying a requested tariff increase would have a catastrophic effect on the economy.

The power utility made submissions to Nersa at public hearings in Midrand.

Nersa had a month of public hearings to determine whether to allow Eskom to secure R27 billion from taxpayers.

Eskom wants a 16.6% tariff hike in April and 16.72% next year.

The Midrand Conference Centre was packed with pensioners, activists, and representatives from a number of bodies who wanted to have their voices heard.

Eskom, led by its general manager for regulation Hasha Tlhotlhalemaje, had to answer questions on pricing, load shedding, and maintenance.

“We relish the kinds of questions that are being asked. This is all the information that we have provided, but we will provide further information,” Tlhotlhalemaje said.

But chairperson of the public hearings Nomfundo Maseti was not quite convinced.

“We are still not getting what we are looking for from Eskom, but I think what is key is to provide clarification as to how they have incurred these extra costs,” she said.

Nersa asked for further explanations, which the utility promised to submit in writing by Friday.

LOAD SHEDDING

Meanwhile, Nersa said it was not satisfied with Eskom’s explanation regarding the implementation of load shedding.

Eskom officials explained their decision for load shedding but chairperson Maseti was not satisfied.

“They didn’t want to answer all the questions and how do they make decisions to implement load shedding in terms of their dispatch rules,” she said.

But Tlhotlhalemaje insisted the power cuts were necessary.

“It is the system operator’s responsibility to protect the system. So, we load shedding to protect us from getting to what is called a blackout. A blackout is when the whole system fails,” she said.

Monday was the final day of hearings and Nersa is expected to announce its decision exactly a month from now.