File picture: Reuters/ Mike Hutchings
JOHANNESBURG - The National Energy Regulator of South Africa (Nersa) granted troubled power utility Eskom a 9.4 percent increase for the 2019/2020 financial year. 

Nersa made the announcement on Thursday afternoon. Nersa said it would allow Eskom electricity tariff hikes of 9.41 %  for the first year, 8.10% for the second year and 5.22% for the third year.

From April 1, consumers can expect to pay 9.41% more for electricity. In 2020, the cost of electricity will increase by 8.1% and a further 5.22% in 2021.

The DA has condemned Nersa's decision, saying the massive increase will "eat into the already diminished incomes of the poor and lower income groups. Over a period of 10 years from 2007 to 2017, Eskom’s electricity prices have increased by about 356%, whilst inflation over the same period was 74%."

The party says the increases will "have a detrimental impact on small businesses, manufacturers and intensive electricity users, placing a handbrake on economic growth and job creation".

The DA believes that Eskom should focus its resources on debt collection from municipalities that owe them money, rather than spending their funds on court cases, which aim to increase electricity tariffs for those who are already paying and meeting their bills," said the party's Shadow Minister of Public Enterprises Natasha Mazzone.

The cash-strapped power utility initially requested a 15% rate hike over the next three years, citing financial problems, including debt of over R400 billion.  

Eskom's tariff hike will add more pressure on consumers who have just been hit with a hefty petrol price increase and are also due to incur a 29 cents a litre hike in government fuel levies from April 3 as announced during Finance Minister Tito Mboweni's budget speech last month.


WATCH: 









BUSINESS REPORT ONLINE