Nersa neglects the poor

NOT so long ago the National Energy Regulator of South Africa held public hearings around the country about Eskom's unprecedented proposed tariff hike.

NOT so long ago the National Energy Regulator of South Africa held public hearings around the country about Eskom's unprecedented proposed tariff hike.

As expected the views of the poor, who will be the worst affected by the proposed increment, were not heard at these public hearings.

This simply means that when the energy regulator takes a decision the view of the poor will not be taken into consideration.

In the interest of our democracy it is high time that the poor are taught and urged to take part in these public hearings.

The country is waiting with bated breath to hear Nersa's decision on Eskom's outrageous proposal of a 35percent yearly rate hike over three years.

The electricity utility initially proposed a 45percent hike over the same period but later dumped it because of the public outcry.

It is public knowledge that the nation lacks confidence in Nersa, given its track record, especially where Eskom is concerned. The energy regulator is expected to grant Eskom's proposed 35percent increment. It would really come as a surprise if it doesn't.

Can the poor afford such a high increment? The answer is a resounding no. So if Nersa doesn't take that into consideration when it takes its decision it doesn't have the best interest of the poor at heart.

That said, Eskom's proposal has dire consequences for the country's economy. If granted it will adversely affect our economy. And that's the last thing we need as a country, especially while we are still in a recession - if we are not technically out of it yet.

In addition it will also result in job losses. As it is we've lost about a million jobs. Can we afford to lose more? Not at all. We need more people to be economically active so that they can pay tax in order for the government to push the frontiers of poverty forward.

Thabile Mange,

Kagiso

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