South African utility Eskom seeks to double electricity prices

22 October 2012 (Last Updated October 22nd, 2012 18:30)

Eskom, a South Africa-based power utility, plans to more than double the price of electricity in the country by 2018.

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Eskom, a South Africa-based power utility, plans to more than double the price of electricity in the country by 2018.

The company has applied to the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (Nersa) for a tariff determination, which includes a 16% annual increase over the next five years.

The proposed increase comprises a 13% annual hike for the firm's own needs and a 3% rise to support the introduction of independent power producers.

Eskom chief executive Brian Dames said that the company is "planning for growing a successful economy."

"For that we need to continue to invest in the electricity infrastructure which can support higher rates of economic growth and development and extend access to electricity to all South Africans," Dames added.

"We seek to ensure that Eskom can cover the costs of supplying the electricity needed to power South Africa and invest in the future.

"Our application balances South Africa's needs for a secure supply of power and for a sustainable electricity industry, with our recognition of the impact which tariff increases have on the economy, particularly on the poor."

But the The National Consumer Forum said Eskom's call for higher tariffs was "shocking".

Forum chairman, Thami Bolani told Business Day Live: "If you are calling on employees to ask for moderate salary increases, even organisations like Eskom should adjust their tariffs in a reasonable way taking into consideration the challenges facing consumers and the economy."


Image: The 16% annual increase in power prices comprises a 13% hike for Eskom's own needs and a 3% rise to support the introduction of independent power producers. Photo: courtesy of Chris Downer.