Durban - Pensioners, already buckling under the pressure of food and fuel increases, may be one of the hardest affected by the National Energy Regulator of South Africa's decision to grant Eskom an above-inflation increase for electricity, a non-government agency has said.
Last week Nersa announced that they had granted Eskom a 9.41 per cent increase for 2019/2020; 8.10 per cent increase for 2020/2021 and 5.22 per cent increase for 2021/2022. Eskom had asked the energy regulator for a 15 per cent increase every year for the next three years.
Julie Smith, a researcher at Pietermaritzburg Economic Justice and Dignity Group said currently an average low-income household uses about 350kWh per month.
“In Pietermaritzburg currently 350kWh costs R529,34 on prepaid meters. A 13,8% increase in electricity tariffs will increase the cost of 350kWh from R529,34 to R602,38 per month. This is an increase of R73, 04. The old-age grant was increased by R80 or 4,7%, coming into effect on 1 April 2019 (from R1 700 to R1 780),” she said.
Smith said that besides the 13.8 per cent, municipalities would add on their own charges to cover the costs of them providing electricity to the public.