South Africa’s National Energy Regulator (NERSA) announced on Monday that it will hold public hearings on a much-opposed plan to raise electricity tariffs. electricity
The hearings will be held on June 23-24 in relation to the national electricity provider Eskom’s application for a 25.3- percent tariff hike for the 2015-16 financial year.
This application will consist of the 12.6-percent rise already approved by the NERSA, the 10.10-percent selective reopener for Open Cycle Gas Turbines (OCGTs) and the Short-Term Power Purchase Program (STPPP), as well as 2.51-percent for the increase in the environmental levy by 2c/kWh.
This came amid a worsening energy crisis that has led to more frequent power outages.
While the proposed tariff increases may be good for Eskom, they are clearly bad for the economy, the opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) said.
“We will therefore vehemently oppose any tariff increases in the coming financial year while our economy continues to suffer from constant load-shedding as a result of the mismanagement of Eskom,” the party said.
Acting Eskom CEO Brian Molefe said recently that South Africans have to either chose electricity tariff hikes or load shedding.
Molefe misled South Africans with a promise last month that the winter would be free of load shedding. Regardless of this assurance, millions of South Africans have found themselves sitting in the cold and dark.
Over the weekend, stage-three load shedding, the highest level of rolling blackouts, was implemented.
The utility has three stages for load shedding. Stage one allows for up to 1000MW of the national load to be shed once a day. If the pressure grows, stage two for up to 2000MW or stage three for up to 4000MW would be shed. At stage two, power goes off twice a day, while at stage three, electricity could be cut two or three times a day.
Eskom implements load shedding as a last resort to protect the national system from a total blackout which would have significant impact on the economic development of South Africa.
The electricity crisis has already cost the economy billions of rand and resulted in countless job-losses.
The country “is suffering due to continued policy uncertainty regarding electricity tariffs and the gross mismanagement of Eskom”, the DA said. Enditem

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