In an unusual move the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality will tomorrow join the Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chamber in a joint effort to save jobs in our city by jointly opposing higher electricity tariffs for Nelson Mandela Bay.
A delegation representing the municipality and businesses in the Bay will tomorrow present at the National Energy Regulator (Nersa) public hearings on Eskom’s selective reopener application for the third Multi-Year Price Determination at the Nasrec Expo Centre in Johannesburg.
For the first time in more than six years, the NMB Municipality will be joining the Business Chamber in raising its collective objection to the substantial electricity increases in the city and will be represented by an official from the Electricity and Energy Department.
Representing the Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chamber, Strategic Resources Task Team chairman Angus Clark and Deputy President MC Botha will offer a presentation, separate to that of the municipality, on behalf of the business community.
The reason why the Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chamber is opposed to tariff increases is simple: We want to ensure the sustainability and competitiveness of our businesses to preserve employment in the city.
Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chamber CEO Kevin Hustler said the member companies of the Chamber in the Metro together employ approximately 60 000 people and that the business community is deeply concerned about the effect the high cost of electricity has on the continued viability of their businesses, and the threat to employment in Nelson Mandela Bay.
“Electricity prices have increased fourfold (quadrupled) in Nelson Mandela Bay since 2008. The effect of such increases on the economy had been devastating in terms of employment and de-industrialisation. Collectively five companies in the manufacturing sector had already shed 950 jobs between 2010 and 2012 in the city because of the high cost of electricity. Compounded to this, there is uncertainty around future electricity supply, which is affecting local investor decisions and damaging the confidence of potential foreign direct investors,” Hustler said.
The main recommendations of the Business Chamber’s written objection, which have already been submitted to Nersa, include:
- The NMB Business Chamber opposes Eskom’s application for further tariff increases this financial year;
- The Chamber not only rejects the increases as requested by Eskom, but also considers the approval of these increases to be unlawful.
- We believe that the public participation process conducted in relation to the application by Eskom was flawed;
- We strongly object to the implementation of the Environmental levy by National Treasury, which may well be underpinned with good intentions, but at this stage would significantly impact the cost of electricity and competitiveness of businesses.
On their return, the delegation representing the Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chamber’s interests at the Nersa public hearings will join the rest of the business community in continuing to oppose uncompetitive higher electricity tariffs in the city.
We will do this through:
- The Business Chamber will utilise all available platforms to lobby and advocate for its members, the broader business community and citizens of the metro alike.
- We have already engaged extensively with the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality both in written submission and discussions on the way forward.
- We hope to mobilise the broader civil society and encourage active citizenry in voicing their concerns and objections through their available channels and on the appropriate platforms.
Hustler said the Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chamber would encourage the seeking of sustainable solutions to ensure that the city’s power supply is provided reliably and at internationally competitive prices which is cost-reflective.
“We encourage the continued driving of renewable energy projects in creating a sustainable supply for the future needs of the nation. In this regard we encourage the Department of Energy and Eskom to reduce the red tape for Independent Power Producers to ensure the fast-tracking of such projects. On the domestic front, we would like to see the implementation of domestic solutions at business premises and private homes being incentivised by government, as well as financing solutions being provided by the financial institutions,” Hustler said.
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