The City of Tshwane has welcomed the rejection by the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (Nersa) of a 19.9% tariff hike in electricity, saying if Eskom had succeeded in its application, it would have put more strain on the city’s poor.
The regulator instead granted an increase of only 5.23% to Eskom’s electricity tariff for the 2018/19 financial year.
Tshwane, along with other municipalities, made submissions to the South African Local Government Association to reject Eskom’s application of a 19.9% tariff increase, because such an increase would effectively translate to a 27% increase for the city and its residents.
Member of the mayoral committee Daryl Moss said it would have put a great strain on the city as it is already grappling with issues of non-payment, low revenue collections and theft.
“The fact is that every electricity hike costs the municipality more to cross-subsidise the poor. “We cannot bear any increase that is higher than inflation as this will put further strain on the poorer people in our communities,” Moss said.
He added that electricity sales in the municipality showed a sustained downward trend over the last years and in some cases have dropped significantly.
“Today, the sale of electricity is at record low levels for all municipalities,” Moss said.
Civil rights organisation AfriForum also welcomed the decision by Nersa.
“We also participated in the public participation process by delivering a presentation which argues that the costs of Eskom’s alleged corrupt activities and maladministration must be excluded from the calculation of the increase for the coming year’s electricity tariff,” Morné Mostert, AfriForum’s head of local government affairs, said.
“The number of objections submitted were so overwhelming that the energy regulator twice had to postpone the announcement of its decision,” Mostert said.
“Communities can no longer pay for Eskom’s maladministration and it is time that they are held accountable for it. Communities can help to offer solutions for the country’s problems by participating in public processes and joining civil rights organisations opposing such injustice. We will study the reasons for Nersa’s decision in depth,” Mostert said.