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By Faizel Patel

Senior Digital Journalist

Solidarity vows to drag Eskom to court if new tariff proposal is approved

The proposal would see Eskom users tariffs increase by between R200 and R600, & on-grid solar users levied R938 a month compared to the R218.

As the country continues to suffer load shedding, trade union Solidarity says it will drag Eskom to court if its new tariff proposal is approved.

The controversial new proposal would not only see parastatal users’ tariffs increase by between R200 and R600, but it would also see on-grid solar users levied R938 a month compared to the R218 they are currently paying.

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Solidarity has described the parastatal’s latest application submitted to the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (NERSA) as ‘absurd, irrational and unlawful.’

Chief Executive Dr Dirk Hermann explained that South Africa’s only hope of getting out of the power crisis lies in small-scale power generation that is taking place on a large scale.

Hermann says Eskom’s proposal is turning itself from being an obstacle to power security into being a threat to it.

“It is one thing if Eskom does not want to contribute towards solving South Africa’s power crisis. However, by making proposals such as this, Eskom is changing from being a millstone around the neck to being an enemy of reliable power supply.

“If Eskom does not want to be involved in solutions itself, we will litigate until at least Eskom no longer stands in the way of others who want to solve the matter,” Hermann added.

Hermann argues the country should go out of its way to encourage and facilitate private power generation. Instead, Eskom’s tariff proposal only exacerbates the situation.

“Instead of encouraging private power generation, Eskom now wants to tax it. Paying tax for a service is one thing; to pay taxes for no service is something totally different. Eskom now indeed wants to tax South Africans who are starting to provide their own services as a result of Eskom’s inability to supply power.”

Hermann adds Eskom tabling such a proposal creates huge uncertainty, and it should be eliminated as soon as possible.

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