Home economic sector Sorry but not sorry: Eskom welcomes staggering 18.65% electricity hike

Sorry but not sorry: Eskom welcomes staggering 18.65% electricity hike

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In a statement on Friday, Eskom said it appreciates the tough decision made by Nersa and recognises the pressures this determination will place on consumers.

In a statement on Friday, Eskom said it appreciates the tough decision made by Nersa and recognises the pressures this determination will place on consumers. File Picture

In a statement on Friday, Eskom said it appreciates the tough decision made by Nersa and recognises the pressures this determination will place on consumers

Sorry, but not sorry.

That was the crux of Eskom’s response today to the National Energy Regulator of South Africa’s (Nersa) staggering 18.65% electricity increase.

Eskom had asked for a 32% increase.

In a statement on Friday, Eskom said it appreciates the tough decision made by Nersa and “recognises the pressures this determination will place on consumers”.

Eskom is likely to apply the tariff increases from April 1.

“This decision (price increase) will positively contribute from a financial and sustainability point of view,” said Calib Cassim, Eskom’s Chief Financial Officer. “The revenue determination of R319 billion and R352 billion for the financial years 2024/5 will allow a further migration towards a price level that reflects the efficient cost of producing electricity.”

Eskom noted the tempering of the volume of diesel for the operation of open cycle gas turbines to a load factor of 6%.

‘It is evident that both Eskom and Nersa are aligned that every effort needs to be made to improve the energy availability factor at Eskom power stations. The shortage in capacity due to both Eskom performance and the delays in the Independent Power Producers projects needs to be addressed.

“It is noted that Nersa has reconsidered capital related costs when compared to the previous decision. This significantly contributes to allowing for Eskom to recover costs related to debt commitments, ” the statement added.

Peter Teixeira, the mayor of DA-run Midvaal Municipality said the 18.65% increase is simply unaffordable and will drive millions of South Africans further into poverty.

“The increase is despite Eskom’s inability to keep the lights on, having recently raised load shedding to Stage 6. We are currently forced to contend with not having electricity for up to nine hours a day. The price of electricity has risen by more than 500% in the past 16 years, while Eskom has received billions in bailouts and yet, to date, still fails to keep the lights on. South Africans will be forced to pay an exorbitant amount for electricity they do not get,” he said.

Teixeira said that the increased load shedding stages was having an adverse effect on Midvaal Local municipality’s electricity infrastructure and network which hindered their ability to attend to power outages and was used as cover by criminals for cable theft.

“Ordinary South Africans cannot be expected to carry the cost of Eskom’s failure and incompetence,” he added.

Gerhard Papenfus, Chief Executive of the National Employers’ Association of South Africa said that the increase will have a major impact on consumers.

“Eskom argues that, without this increase, it cannot survive. Ironically, it completely disregards the survival of the South African consumer. If the consumer was of any concern to compromised politicians and corrupt Eskom employees, of the ‘mafia’ currently controlling Eskom, South Africa would not have been in this situation,” Papenfus said.

“Therefore, what the South African consumer wants to know is this: since detrimental policies, corruption and inefficiency brought us to our current predicament, how are things going to improve, even with this increase, if the policies, corruption and inefficiency remain? Consumers have no option; we will have to pay more, but it is unlikely that we will receive anything in return,” he added.

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