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households could pay R2386 A MONTH

By unknown | Jan 13, 2010 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

AN AVERAGE suburban home could be paying around R2386 a month for electricity in three years if Eskom's proposed electricity tariff increase is granted.

AN AVERAGE suburban home could be paying around R2386 a month for electricity in three years if Eskom's proposed electricity tariff increase is granted.

This emerged during the second day of public hearings into the proposed 35percent tariff hike, conducted by the National Energy Regulator of SA in Polokwane yesterday.

While Eskom's acting chief executive and board chairperson Mpho Makwana presented the power utility's case proficiently, no one stood up at the hearings in support of the proposed 35percent increase for every year over three years.

Currently an average household pays about R760 a month for electricity.

DA member of the Limpopo legislature Jacques Smalle said at the very most one could accede to an increase in the area of 14percent.

Cosatu provincial secretary Dan Sibabi was vehemently opposed to the increase, although he could not be pinned down on what percentage would be considered reasonable.

Sibabi said he trusted Nersa would take the public's opinions seriously this time, and not do as it did last April when around 170 submissions against an interim increase were "ignored".

Matome Madibana, listed on the programme as representing the office of the Limpopo premier, made it clear before his presentation that he was there in is own personal capacity.

"I am speaking for the poor and middle class who could be the ones to pay a heavy price for Eskom's mistakes."

He said any increase must be affordable to everyone.

Also attending the hearing were representatives of the Young Communist League, the Transvaal Agricultural Union, SA National Non-Government Organisations Coalition, Plastic Converters Association of SA, Nzhelele Electricity Customer Communication Forum and the SA Council of Churches.

Only a handful of private citizens attended the hearing.

On the first day of the hearings in Mpumalanga on Monday, it was heard that Eskom planned to adopt a new financing model by selling off 30percent of its Kusile power station to partly pay for expansion of power generation to meet growing demand.

Makwana said Eskom's board had given the mandate to look for private equity investors in Kusile.

But he said Eskom did not yet have permission to look for private investors for its other power stations.

Kusile, being built in Mpumalanga, will produce 4800 megawatts of electricity.

Eskom has previously said Kusile could be commissioned later than the original 2013 start date due to delays in signing some contracts for the power station.

Kusile and another 4800 MW coal-fired power plant, Medupi, are Eskom's first new base-load plants in more than two decades.

Nersa is due to make a decision on the proposed increase by month-end.

The next hearing is in Kimberley, Northern Cape, today. - Sapa and Reuters


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