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23 Jun 2015 16:15
In its new price application, Eskom is asking for an additional 9.6% points to fuel gas turbines that it uses as a last resort. (Reuters)
Eskom says it needs to raise prices by almost double the
rate the National Energy Regulator (Nersa) has so far allowed so the company
can buy in electricity and diesel to help curb shortages in its own generation
“What we’re here for is to ask for what we think is
fair,” Eskom acting chief executive Brian Molefe said at public hearings
held by the national energy regulator in Johannesburg Tuesday.
Nersa is holding two days of consultations after Eskom,
which is struggling to meet demand in Africa’s most-industrialised economy,
asked to raise prices by as much as 25%, or 12% points more than first allowed
for the year to March 31 2016.
In October, the utility got permission from the regulator to
increase charges by an average 13% starting April 1 to help it recover
unbudgeted costs for the three years through 2013. The regulator had previously
approved an average annual increase of 8% in each of the five years through
The inflation rate was 4.6% in May.
In its new price application, Eskom is asking for an
additional 9.6% points to fuel gas turbines that it uses as a last resort, and
to carry on power purchases from companies such as Sasol and Sappi.
It had also sought a further 2.5% points to pay for a 57%
increase in the environmental levy to 5.5 cents a kilowatt-hour, which was
announced by Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene in his budget speech in February,
but has yet to be introduced.
If the levy is published in the Government Gazette after
July 1, the associated tariff increase can only take effect in the year
starting April 1, 2016, Nersa Chairperson Thembani Bukula said in an interview
The City of Cape Town would need an additional R700-million
to purchase power at the higher rate, Deputy Executive Mayor Ian Neilson said
at the hearing.
Not being able to pass increases on to customers
“certainly will be a financial position that we aren’t willing to
accept”, he said.
Sibanye Gold, the biggest producer of South African gold,
would lose as much as R8.2-billion in revenue from 2015 to 2017 from operations
that would have to be closed if the increase were granted, Technical Services
Senior Vice President Peter Turner said. The company, which buys about 1.6% of
the electricity the utility generates, forecasts a power bill of R4.1-billion
by 2017, compared with R2.8-billion last year. - Bloomberg
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