Eskom wants 53% tariff HikE

Zinhle Mapumulo and Sapa

Zinhle Mapumulo and Sapa

Eskom yesterday applied for a 53percent hike in tariffs, or about 60percent after inflation, the National Energy Regulator announced.

The power utility was seeking the shock rise in place of the 14,2percent it was granted in December. It said it wanted the figure revised because of "increased primary energy costs" and "accelerated demand-side management" costs.

"In the light of the current electricity supply shortage and load shedding in the country, the energy regulator will give urgent attention to Eskom's application and make its decision after following due process," the regulator said.

Eskom has also given South Africans an ultimatum to start saving electricity or face massive blackouts after another two generators tripped yesterday morning. Nine generators have dropped off the national grid over the past five days.

Eskom spokesman Andrew Etzinger said unless people adopted a culture of using electricity sparingly, load shedding would be part of their lives for years.

"The last few days forced Eskom to cut off power supply because we could not meet demand. We have not implemented load shedding since February 4. This shows that South Africans can save electricity if they want to. We need to practise what we have been doing the past six weeks if we do not want to live in the dark," said Etzinger.

Last Friday Eskom issued a power alert after two generators tripped. The alert said that load shedding would resume at the end of the month should South Africans fail to save electricity and reduce their demand by ten percent. Five more generators tripped on Monday.

"When one generator trips it puts a strain on others. This then results in more generators tripping and load shedding. We attributed the recent high demand to the cold and wet weather conditions. We are fixing the generators, but we need to save electricity," he said.

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