Home News Sol Plaatje municipality has proposed an electricity tariff hike of 6,82 percent

Sol Plaatje municipality has proposed an electricity tariff hike of 6,82 percent

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This is along with water increases of 5,68 percent while property tax, refuse and sanitation is expected to rise by four percent for the 2022/’23 financial year.

Solar panels could be the answer to high electricity bills. Picture: Mujahid Safodien

WITH winter approaching Sol Plaatje municipality has proposed an electricity tariff hike of 6, 82 percent.

This is along with water increases of 5,68 percent while property tax, refuse and sanitation is expected to rise by four percent for the 2022/’23 financial year.

Public participation processes will have to be held before any final decision is taken.

The municipality has warned that anyone including business, government departments and households that have outstanding accounts exceeding 90 days, regardless of the amount owed, will have their electricity supply cut.

However by April 1, power cuts were not implemented yet.

The municipality owes Eskom R540, 9 million while it was noted that there was “massive” non-payment of accounts.

According to a cost of supply and tariff study, It was stated that the electricity losses of 26, 8 percent were “far more” than the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (Nersa) benchmark, that did not accept losses exceeding 10 percent.

It was indicated that the suspension of electricity increases following a city wide shut down due to community uproar over tariff increases in 2018 had resulted in financial instability and performance challenges for the municipality for the past three years since the basic charge of R226, 09 was abolished.

“The abolishment of the basic charge on the domestic residential tariff resulted in a misalignment between the 2018 cost of supply and the electricity tariff application and the approvals of the Nersa, which resulted in a audit finding in 2020/’21 from the Auditor General.”

The report found that indigents were “seriously subsidised” and domestic prepaid and conventional customers were undercharged while three phase customers, commercial customers and small public benefit were overcharged.

It was proposed that the tariffs for indigents and 20 Amp customers should not be increased structurally.

ACDP councillor Roddy Loff advised that the municipality should first address water and electricity losses before increasing the tariffs.

“We objected to any increases and believe that this is a reflection of poor leadership, mismanagement and the inability to manage the outflow of finances and irregular expenditure. The municipality, national and provincial government is living in another world, far removed from the hardship of the poor and vulnerable.”

He added that residents had to choose between buying bread or electricity.

FF+ councillor Kobus van den Berg stated that the new tariff proposals showed little sympathy to struggling households and businesses.

“We are not against tariff increases but it should be in line with the current economic climate where ratepayers are in a financial position to afford them.

“The tariff hikes are above the inflation rate of 5, 7 percent while they are being introduced amid poor service delivery and deteriorating infrastructure.”

He pointed out that the municipality should utilise solar energy and independent power produces to reduce costs.

“The ongoing sewage crisis must first be resolved before the tariff is increased.”

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