The Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chamber has expressed extreme disappointment with Eskom’s application for a 19.9% tariff increase from April 1, 2018, warning that such a hike would be “crippling” to business and the economy. Should the increase be approved it could translate to a 27.5% municipal tariff adjustment on July 1, 2018.
The National Energy Regulator of South Africa (Nersa) has outlined the process it will follow to assess Eskom’s request and has set a deadline of October 13 for the submission of written comments.
The regulator has approved the State-owned utility’s request to submit an application for only a single year once the third multiyear price determination (MYPD3) cycle, which ran for five years, expires on March 31, 2018.
Public hearings will be held in all nine provinces between October 30 and November 16, with the first hearing scheduled for Cape Town and the last for Johannesburg.
Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chamber oresident Thomas Schaefer said the double-digit hike would have disastrous consequences for local business and the economy.
The chamber also expressed concern that, in addition to the annual adjustment, Eskom was hoping to recoup up to R60-billion through three outstanding Regulatory Clearing Account (RCA) applications. Nersa had not yet determined how it would approach the application, but any decision to adjudicate these applications could have a material bearing on the 2018/19 tariff adjustment.
“Not only will such an increase be crippling, but in view of the recent disclosures and reports regarding rampant maladministration and governance failures at Eskom, business and commerce is compelled to continue in its endeavours to hold both Eskom and the Regulator accountable for their actions, in the interest of the public,” Schaefer said in a statement.
He called on all businesses, locally and nationally, to make their voices heard and assured members that the Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chamber would be making robust submissions, both by the October 13 deadline for written comments and at the hearing scheduled for Port Elizabeth on November 1.