Durban ratepayer associations would strongly object to Eskom’s application for a 15% electricity tariff increase. Picture: Reuters/Siphiwe Sibeko

Durban - Durban ratepayer associations would strongly object to Eskom’s application for a 15% electricity tariff increase when the National Energy Regulator of SA (Nersa) comes into town next week to hold public hearings.
Eskom has applied to increase electricity tariffs by 15% annually over the next three years.

The energy regulator will hold public meetings from Monday and will be in Durban on Thursday. Eskom made the application to recover revenue totalling R762billion from electricity users through increased tariffs.

But ratepayer associations said consumers should not have to bear the brunt of the power utility’s alleged poor administration.

Dave Ferguson, chairperson of the Central Outer West Ratepayers Association said it was grossly unfair for Eskom to expect its customers to pay for their alleged corruption and mismanagement.

“They should first clean up their procurement processes before asking for any increases. The increased cost of electricity will have a knock-on effect on everything,” said Ferguson.

He said if the tariff increase was approved it would be disastrous for the average person.

Pravin Ram, secretary of the Asherville Ratepayers Association said people were already financially constrained.

“Should the increase be granted it will result in more electricity theft which is a big reality in our city at the moment. Eskom is in the position they find themselves because of their corruption and maladministration and not because of paying customers. It is ludicrous to expect consumers to pick up the costs on their behalf,” said Ram.

Cara Reilly from the Umhlanga Improvement Precinct said they were concerned about the negative impact any increase would have on the commercial and tourism sector.

The eThekwini Metropolitan Municipality will also make a submission at the hearing on Thursday.

The municipality’s spokesperson Msawakhe Mayisela said they were not in a position to share the contents of their submission at this stage.

Ted Blom of the Energy Expert Coalition would also be attending the hearing to be held at the Durban International Convention Centre. Blom has made it his mission to attend every public hearing when it starts in Cape Town and moves across the country until February 4. He said Eskom should not be granted any increases until a full forensic audit was completed.

Nersa, last year approved a 4.1% increase which will come into effect in April.

Eskom spokesperson Khulu Phasiwe was not available for comment.

Sunday Tribune