In its latest request to the National Energy Regulator (Nersa), Eskom wants to increase its electricity prices by 38.10% for the 2023/24 financial year.
The Southern African Faith Communities Environment Institute (SAFCEI) has sent its objections to this request and simply termed it an “unfair and exorbitant increase” in comments to Nersa on September 8.
An energy expert that tracks Eskom’s next Multi-Year Price Determination (MYPD5) for SAFCEI, Kim Kruyshaar, said, “SAFCEI has made many written and oral submissions, over the years, appealing to Nersa to keep electricity tariffs affordable. Despite this, we are seeing far above inflation tariff increases year on year.”
SAFCEI’s Executive Director Francesca de Gasparis said electricity users, including those relying on government grants and state subsidies, are expected to accommodate electricity price increases that far outstrip annual inflation or grant increases.
“These double-digit electricity tariff increases will have a huge impact. And yet, the issues that make our energy system unaffordable, unreliable, and unsafe all stem from the government’s lack of action to deal with mismanagement and corruption.”
Gasparis added that Nersa has failed to shield citizens from unaffordable prices.
“While Nersa did manage to reduce the last year’s increase request from 20.5% to 9.61%, it seems that Eskom is back for the shortfall, even though it is the root cause of its own problems.
“South Africans must remember that Eskom is a state-owned entity, not a private company – the government is its only shareholder – and it should be implementing government policy. This is what makes Nersa’s inability to enact the changes needed for a secure and affordable energy system and to initiate actions to address the tariff impacts on people with low incomes, so frustrating,” said De Gasparis.
Speaking for SAFCEI, Gasparis concluded by stating that, to strengthen its governance, governmust must take steps to professionalise the public service, strengthen accountability, and improve intergovernmental coordination.
“The state should also take a visible, no-nonsense approach to corruption with real consequences for those implicated.”
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