Solidarity set to oppose power hike

SOLIDARITY says Eskom's application for a 35percent tariff hike in each of the next three years should not be approved and alternatives should be considered.

SOLIDARITY says Eskom's application for a 35percent tariff hike in each of the next three years should not be approved and alternatives should be considered.

Preparing its proposals for the National Energy Regulator of South Africa's (Nersa) hearings into Eskom's application in Rustenburg today, Solidarity said yesterday it intends to offer "several workable suggestions, incluing that the principle of a general percentage increase should be discarded".

The trade union said it would also pressurise Nersa to better regulate the current implementation of Eskom increases - which are passed on to consumers by municipalities - so that the impact on consumers was reduced.

"Solidarity realises that there is an urgent need for tariff increases, through which Eskom has to partially fund essential expansions," said Solidarity deputy general secretary Dirk Hermann.

"The full burden should not, however, be placed on the shoulders of consumers and that is why Eskom's largest shareholder, the South African government, should now step up . and also contribute."

Solidarity maintains that Eskom expansion should continue, but that newer technology - such as the construction of a nuclear station - should be considered. "This option will not only help reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but also help ensure the long-term sustainability of electricity supply capacity," said Hermann.

"By following this approach, the issue regarding the price of coal, which places pressure on the cost of electricity, can also be eliminated."

lThe hearings continue in Durban on Monday. - I-Net Bridge

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