Concerns over hikes ignored
Treasury and the SA Local Government Association have raised concerns about the effect that prolonged increases in electricity tariffs would have on the economy.
Their comments are contained in an Eskom document produced in August 2012.
The parties recommend gradual tariff adjustments to minimise the impact of exorbitant increases on the economy, but Eskom decided not to comply, claiming this would "prolong inefficiency and increase the risk of load shedding". The document further states that if the consumer does not pay, then taxpayers would have to.
Eskom believes that its five-year price determination plan will ensure a predictable price path for the country.
Spokeswoman Hilary Joffe said Eskom would submit its application to National Electricity Regulator of SA (Nersa) at a date still to be determined .
Joffe said the poor would be protected from the impact of high increases through the inclining block tariff structure - designed in such way that the more you consume, the more you pay.
But she admitted that this structure was problematic and would not work as well as it should.
Poor households are entitled to monthly free basic electricity of 50 kilowatt hours, but those earmarked to benefit complain about the inconsistency in the number of units given.
The city of Johannesburg on the other hand provides 100kWh free electricity.
Eskom's application to Nersa has been delayed at least twice since June.
- This article was first published in the printed newspaper on 11 October 2012