Electricity price increase 'simply unacceptable', says Joburg mayor Herman Mashaba

07 March 2019 - 18:45 By Iavan Pijoos
Johannesburg mayor Herman Mashaba has critised the National Energy Regulator of SA's (Nersa) decision to increase electricity prices.
Johannesburg mayor Herman Mashaba has critised the National Energy Regulator of SA's (Nersa) decision to increase electricity prices.
Image: Sunday Times

Johannesburg mayor Herman Mashaba says the National Energy Regulator of SA's (Nersa) decision to increase electricity tariffs in 2019/20, is "simply unacceptable".

"Given the poor state of the national economy and the massive corruption at Eskom itself, the city, on the behalf of our residents, had argued that the proposed tariff increases were simply unacceptable," Mashaba said in a statement on Thursday afternoon.

This after Nersa announced that South Africans would have to cough up 9.41% more for electricity.

Eskom had applied for hikes of 17.1% for 2019/20, 15.4% for 2020/21 and 15.5% for 2021/22.

Nersa approved increases of 8.1% for 2020/21 and 5.22% for 2021/22.

BusinessLIVE reported that industry had argued strongly for the regulator to reject Eskom's application for a 17.1% rise.

According to the Minerals Council, if Eskom succeeded, 40% of mining, refining and smelting companies would be lost; annual gold mining output would fall from 132 tons to 20 tons; and 150,000 direct jobs could be shed across mining, smelting and refining.

Eskom on Thursday issued its now regular statement that "there is a high risk of rotational load-shedding today, but will only be implemented if absolutely necessary".

The utility said while it did not cut power on Wednesday, "the system is still tight and vulnerable".

"While the city is appreciative of Nersa’s willingness to hear the voice of our residents, businesses and all South Africans at large, it is still our view that the present increase serves only to reward maladministration and corruption which has gutted Eskom," Mashaba said.

Mashaba said the poorest in the country would suffer the most because of the increase.

"For the poorest members of our society, life is set to become that much harder as a result of this increase.

"In addition, the rise in tariffs will also continue to place struggling businesses under strain, hampering the prospects for economic growth," he said.


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