property body slams eskom

THE South African Property Owners Association has slammed a decision by the Energy Regulator to grant Eskom a 31,3 percent electricity hike.

Yesterday Sapoa, which represents the commercial and industrial property sector, added its voice to growing concerns about the massive hike in electricity tariffs.

Shortly after the announcement was made last week opposition political parties, civil society and Cosatu described the increase as outrageous.

The increase is reportedly slightly less than the 34percent Eskom had originally asked for.

In a statement Sapoa said it was "totally unacceptable that consumers should be punished for the follies of Eskom management and the government".

Cosatu said the increase could not be justified since it was four times the inflation rate.

Yesterday, Sapoa, which represents industry with a combined portfolio of more than R150billion, said the increase could affect the sector severely.

Sapoa chief executive Neil Gopal said: "We aim to create sustainable property environments that will consume less energy and so not only reduce carbon emissions but also reduce the expense associated with high energy consumption."

Sapoa executive Douw de Kock said: "It will definitely have an effect on the property industry in an economy where vacancy rates are now higher and many retailers are closing down."

He said an increase above 30percent incurs an extra approximate cost of R5 per m², which impacts on the tenant's overall budget.