Eskom warns that dispute with Nersa over tariff hikes could cost taxpayers

In June, the utility applied for an undisclosed tariff hike but now four months later the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (Nersa) has rejected it.

Megawatt Park pictured on Johannesburg on 12 March 2015. Picture: EWN

JOHANNESBURG - Eskom is warning that if its dispute with the energy regulator is not resolved, it will be left with a R300 billion annual shortfall which the taxpayer will have to cover.

In June, the utility applied for an undisclosed tariff hike but now four months later the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (Nersa) has rejected it.

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Eskom said that it was because the regulator changed its methodology of its multi-year pricing determinations, but it was concerned that this would have dire financial consequences not only for the utility but also municipalities.

Eskom's Hasha Tlhotlha-Lemaje said that the new price hikes had to be finalised by March so that they could be implemented by April.

“If the consumer doesn't pay, then the taxpayer that needs to pay. So that is a situation where we are trying to get the consumer to pay only the efficient cost of electricity,” she said.

She wouldn't confirm or deny if Eskom was proposing a double-digit electricity increase.

"That is not for public consumption. We have to allow Nersa to follow its procedure."

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