Eskom power station (File pic: Eskom website)

JOHANNESBURG - The National Black Consumer Council (NBCC) on Wednesday said that it opposed Eskom's proposed application for a 20 percent electricity tariff increase next year.

TheNBCC urged the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (Nersa) to reject the troubled power utility's application and rather grant it "a zero percent" tariff increase.

Eskom is asking Nersa for permission to raise its tariffs by 19.9% for 2018/2019.

The power utility is also requested a waiver of certain requirements of the Multi-Year Price Determination (MYPD) methodology, which will set electricity prices for 2018. However, Nersa turned down the request. 

In a statement NBCC secretary general, Ray Russon, said the Eskom report was written in such a way as to obfuscate important detail in a deliberate attempt to hide information from the ordinary consumer.

Russon said Eskom had "dismally failed to convince us" that it has put sufficient effort to manage its escalating costs and has failed to provide a cost containment strategy.

"Eskom’s explanation on why it cannot turn off turbines during off-peak hours to match demand is disingenuous and its explanation of how its excess supply should translate into increased tariffs is astounding to say the least," Russon said.

"The prediction that demand will decline due to economic conditions makes little sense because there are indications that the economy is showing signs of an upturn."

Russon said that Eskom must be granted "a zero increase" in tariffs for the year 2018/19 because the judicial inquiry on State capture must be completed to determine all the problems that have happened in the country's state-owned enterprises, especially Eskom.

"Eskom must provide a convincing case of cost containment. As a public utility, Eskom must focus of service delivery to the public instead of mega profit," Russon said.

"We therefore urge Nesra to reject the Eskom proposal and grant a zero increase for the year 2018/19."

- AFRICAN NEWS AGENCY