150711. Sunset in Crownmines, Johannesburg. The picture can be used for Eskom energy supply crisis. Picture: Dumisani Sibeko

The National Energy Regulator (Nersa) has decided how much City Power may charge you for electricity from Sunday, but won’t say what this is.

Nersa officials confirmed that the regulator, which sets electricity prices, made a decision on tariff applications by City Power and seven other municipalities on Monday.

But despite repeated requests since Monday, Nersa has not provided The Star with the decisions or placed these on the regulator’s website.

“We are unable to provide you with the requested information but we will send it as soon as is available, the latest tomorrow,” a Nersa official said late on Thursday.

“We are still finalising internal processes.”

On Thursday, City Power, the City of Joburg’s power utility, confirmed to The Star that it had received a decision from the regulator but, as this was not signed and a signed version was still awaited, the entity did not wish to announce the details.

The tariffs go up at the start of the new municipal financial year, which is on Sunday.

Consumers face soaring bills due to a combination of price increases, higher winter rates and higher consumption because of the cold.

Nersa’s guideline increase for municipal increases for 2012/13 is 11.03 percent.

This is based on Eskom’s increase in price to municipalities of 16 percent; the municipalities’ increase to their customers is lower because the cost of buying bulk electricity from Eskom makes up most but not all of their costs.

City Power applied for a tariff increase of 11.96 percent, which would result in a 14 percent increase in revenue. So far, 45 municipalities or their power utilities have applied to Nersa for increases higher than Nersa’s guideline.

A Nersa official previously told The Star that all 45 had applied by the cut-off date of June 13 and decisions were expected before July 1.

The highest increase requested is that by Midvaal, of 25.04 percent. Midvaal’s application said this was partly due to a mistake in Eskom’s metering equipment.

Nersa has previously said the regulator assesses such applications against both the guideline increase (11.03 percent) and Nersa’s “approved tariffs benchmark levels”, which are limits on specific tariffs.

Of the 45 entities wanting extra increases, 25 wanted below-benchmark increases, so Nersa said public hearings were not needed.

The highest increase requested by these 25 was 16 percent for the Laingsburg and Msunduzi municipalities.

The remaining 20 had their applications heard at public hearings at Nersa’s offices. The entities had to motivate their need for increases, and Nersa has previously indicated that this could include a need for spending on infrastructure.

“The approved funds are expected to be ring-fenced to ensure that it is used specifically for the identified reasons or projects,” said the official.

“The municipalities are expected to report to Nersa on a six-monthly basis on the utilisation of the funds; the submitted reports are duly scrutinised. Any funds not utilised for the purpose for which they were approved are clawed back in the following financial year.”

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The Star