Cape Town – Public hearings by the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (Nersa) into Eskom’s proposed tariff increases will start today at the Southern Sun Hotel in the city.

Energy expert Ted Blom said: “Almost 200000 people have sent a comment to Nersa. We now have official legal evidence of the public participation.“Such tremendous response is a true demonstration of the power of the public voice when fuelled by disapproval.”

Blom will be representing the public and opposing the tariff hike application at each official Nersa hearing.

“If we allow Eskom to succeed, we will see a substantial jump on current tariffs. However, as the increase is over and above their annual tariff hikes, in reality, your electricity costs will double within two years,” he said.

Eskom recently said it had applied for a 16.6% hike to Nersa, and it would need R27million from consumers next year. Eskom is facing financial challenges, with a staggering debt of more than R400billion. The hearings will be held in all nine provinces and run until February 24.

DA spokesperson on mineral resources and energy, Kevin Mileham, and the party’s public enterprises spokesperson, Ghaleb Cachalia, will also be presenting arguments against Eskom’s application today.

Mileham said: “South African consumers cannot afford further tariff increases on electricity. It is unconscionable that this Eskom would ask citizens to pour more money into the black hole of an entirely defunct SOE (state-owned enterprise).”

He said the governing party cannot continue to fund an SOE that was no longer viable and in a death spiral.

“An SOE with over R400bn of debt, the ANC must accept that Eskom can no longer be saved and that the lunacy surrounding Eskom bailouts, in any form, needs to end now.” Mileham said.

Stop CoCT founder Sandra Dickson, who has been vocal about the steep tariff increase, said: “Public participation has in the past helped Nersa to balance Eskom tariff increase against affordability of the public. In 2019, Eskom asked for an increase of 20%, but due to vigorous public participation Nersa awarded Eskom only 9.1%. We call on the public to assist in any effort which will result in Eskom tariff increases to be kept reasonable for the public to afford.”

@MarvinCharles17

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