Cape Town – By midnight on Monday, when the deadline expired for the public to comment on Eskom’s proposed tariff increases to the National Energy Regulator of SA (Nersa), energy activist group DearSA, sent Nersa over 171896 comments it had received on its website from consumers.
Eskom recently said it had applied for a 16.6% tariff increase to Nersa, and that it would need R27million from consumers next year. Eskom is facing financial challenges, with a staggering debt of more than R400billion.
Energy expert Ted Bloem said: “If we allow Eskom to succeed, we will see a substantial jump in the current tariffs.
As the increase is over and above Eskom’s annual tariff hikes, in reality your electricity costs will double within two years,” he pointed out.
Bloem will be representing the public and opposing the tariff hike application at each official Nersa hearing, to be held in all the provinces.
“By shifting the responsibility to the consumer, the tariff hike will see your electricity costs increase by up to 17% – to carry Eskom’s mismanagement. It further requested R1.8bn to pay performance bonuses,” he said.
Eskom and Nersa are locked in a court battle to review and set aside the regulator’s decision to limit its revenue from electricity tariffs for the period 2019/20 to 2021/22. The urgent application relates to the R69bn bailout that the government gave Eskom.
Nersa has deducted this amount from Eskom’s approved revenue for the current tariff period, which ends in March 2022.
Nersa spokesperson Charles Hlebela said they were not able to comment on the number of comments.
“Nersa conducted a screening to ensure that the application is compliant with the four-multiyear price determination methodology, as well as the necessary information for the tariff application requirements.
“After several interactions with Nersa, Eskom submitted a revised application in November. Full compliance was confirmed six days later, after all outstanding information was submitted and further verification was done by Nersa,” Hlebela said.
Nersa is conducting public hearings, and the Western Cape kick-starts the process on February 3.
Stop CoCT founder Sandra Dickson said: “Public participation has in the past helped Nersa balance Eskom’s tariff increases against public affordability. In 2019, Eskom asked for an increase of 20%, but due to vigorous public participation, Nersa awarded Eskom a 9.1% increase.”
DearSA also called on the public to help keep Eskom’s tariff increases reasonable and affordable.
Local Government, Environmental Affairs and Development Planning MEC Anton Bredell said the province was working with the City of Cape Town to prioritise certain areas for continued power supply in the event of a system emergency.
Electricity demand is projected to pick up in the coming weeks, and while no load shedding is expected, the grid remains under pressure.
Bredell said one example was storage and production facilities for bulk oxygen for hospitals and medical facilities. “Oxygen must be stored in a cryogenic state and it is crucial that it not get affected.”
Article by IOL