Electricity tariff decision expected on Thursday
A decision on Eskom's proposed new electricity prices will be announced on Thursday, the National Energy Regulator of South Africa has said.
It would do so by way of a news briefing in Pretoria, the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (Nersa) said on Monday.
Eskom has asked for a 16% increase in electricity prices in each of the next five years, which will more than double the price, taking it from 61 cents a kilowatt hour (kWh) in 2012/13, to 128 cents a kWh in 2017/18.
Minister in the Presidency Trevor Manuel warned against the energy tariff increase during a briefing on the National Development Plan in Cape Town on February 19.
He said rapid increases in administered prices, including energy, had to be guarded against.
The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) agreed the proposed electricity hikes were "unacceptable". "We welcome Minister Manuel's firm stance on this ridiculous request by Eskom," Numsa said in a statement last Wednesday.
"We have argued strongly that these electricity tariffs will plunge our economy into a deeper crisis, and will result in massive job losses," it said.
At the same time, the Food and Allied Workers' Union said the proposed increase would have a negative effect on farming operations. "We have argued that this proposed massive electricity hike will have a negative impact on the cost structure [not only] for manufacturers, but also for farmers," it said.
Farmers found it difficult to contain the increasing prices of energy and fuel, and therefore had no choice but to retrench workers to cut costs. – Sapa