Eskom Rotek and by Simphiwe Mbokazi

Johannesburg - Ma'Dlamini is a tenant in a building in the Joburg city centre.

The single mother of two works as a bank teller.

She paid about R148 amonth for electricity in 2008, and should the National Energy Regulator (Nersa) approve Eskom’s application for an interim tariff increase this month, she would pay R476.

“The country is being penalised for Eskom’s mismanagement,” Nic Barnes, director of the Johannesburg Property Owners and Managers' Association, said at Nersa’s public hearings in Midrand on Friday.

Since 2008, Ma’Dlamini's salary and rent have increased by 60 percent.

Her electricity bill, however, has increased by 174 percent.

Barnes said: “The economy cannot withstand the additional shock of another increase while unemployment and inflation increase, and economic growth and the exchange rate decline.”

On the final day of the tariff increase hearings, every single person who made a submission opposed Eskom’s application.

Ted Blom, energy analyst and advisor to the energy and mining industry, said the application should be rejected.

He said the utility’s failure to plan is one of the reasons for their shortfalls. “They transport coal and diesel by road, rather than cheaper rail alternatives.”

Mark Krieg, executive director of the Aluminium Federation of South Africa said there was no credible improvement plan in Eskom’s application document.

Eskom said they were aware of their effect on the country’s credit rating, and are trying not to be a burden on the fiscus, but they acknowledged that their sales forecast was not accurate.

A decision on the tariff application is due by the end of the month.

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Saturday Star