Picture: Neil Hall/ Reuters.

PRETORIA - The City of Tshwane will from September start charging its prepaid customers a 13.07 percent increase, as approved by the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (Nersa).

Nersa approved the city's proposal to increase electricity tariffs by 13.07 percent for the 2019/2020 financial year, but the proposed hike met with opposition from AfriForum.

AfriForum went to court in a bid to reverse the city's decision to implement the increase.

In court, both parties proposed to engage in talks with each other and suspend the legal route to solve their impasse amicably.

They then agreed that the city would reverse tariff increases effected on July 1, until Nersa's final determination on the matter.

On July 11, the energy regulator convened a public hearing during where the city offered to reimburse customers who have already purchased electricity at higher rates since July 1, but it remained to be seen how it would approach the repayment process.

During the hearing, Nersa also questioned the legality of the city's tariff restructuring. 

Tshwane Mayor Stevens Mokgalapa and members of his committee announced the decision to implement the tariff hike a media briefing at their offices in Pretoria on Wednesday, after Nersa approved the new tariff structure.

"The City of Tshwane notes and welcomes the approval from the National Energy Regulator of South Africa of the 13.07 percent for the 2019/2020 financial year.

“To that effect, as of from the beginning of September, the city will resume billing residents according to the new tariff structure,” said Mokgalapa.

In terms of the city's restructuring of electricity pricing, residential customers would have been levied a monthly fixed tariff at R56, while those paying for electricity for agricultural production would be charged R250. The proposal to council was R120 for residential consumers and R610 for agriculture, but that  has since been amended.

African News Agency (ANA)