Confusion over power

Tebogo Monama

Tebogo Monama

Confusion reigns regarding electricity tariff hikes with Eskom asking the National Energy Regulator to increase electricity tariffs to boost its R150billion capital investment programme.

Eskom's managing director for resource and strategy, Steve Lennon, said an immediate 18percent hike in electricity prices was needed.

"The hike is necessary because the price of coal has increased, but this is not reflected in the current electricity prices," Lennon said.

However, Sowetan reported yesterday that the regulator's chief executive, Smunda Mokoena, denied the tariff hike would be as high as 18percent.

The regulator said it would study Eskom's submission and initiate public debate before taking a decision.

When Eskom asked for an increase, Bedfordview and Eastgate Mall, east of Johannesburg, had already suffered a three-day power outage crisis.

Eskom spokesman Fani Zulu blamed the outages on the installation of closed-circuit television cameras along the R24 highway.

The Gauteng government has denied responsibility for the outages, saying its CCTV project was still in the planning and design phase.

Just hours after electricity was restored in Eastgate, power outages hit the popular shopping mall, The Zone, in Rosebank.

Power was only restored to the mall 12 hours later.

However, Eskom pointed out that it was Joburg City Power and not the utility itself that was responsible for The Zone's electricity supply.

City Power spokesman Sol Masolo told Sowetan he was not aware of any blackout at the Rosebank mall because he had been in a meeting yesterday morning.