In a recent announcement, South Africa’s energy regulator, the National Energy Regulator of SA (Nersa), confirmed that the proposed 18.65% tariff increase would go ahead, despite President Cyril Ramaphosa’s plea for reconsideration. The news comes as a disappointment to many South Africans struggling with ongoing load shedding and rising electricity costs.
Breaking Down the Tariff Increases: Nersa revealed that the 18.65% increase would be applied to industrial and urban consumers starting in April. However, municipalities will see a slightly lower increase of 18.49%, beginning in June. This discrepancy is due to the fact that municipalities operate on a different financial calendar, with their financial year commencing on July 1.
Meanwhile, in a move to ease the burden on lower-income households, Nersa approved Eskom’s revised application for a more modest 10% increase for Homelight 20 Amp customers. These customers typically include lower-consumption users in informal settlements or smaller households.
Ramaphosa’s Efforts and Eskom’s Response: Back in January, President Ramaphosa expressed his concerns about the proposed tariff hike at an ANC Free State event, urging Eskom to reconsider the increase amid the ongoing load shedding crisis. Eskom later responded with a statement, suggesting that those unhappy with the upcoming tariff hike should lodge a court application to challenge Nersa’s decision.
Eskom also highlighted the importance of recovering efficient costs from consumers, as failure to do so would place an increased burden on taxpayers. The power utility emphasized that these costs would not simply disappear.
Despite President Ramaphosa’s efforts to halt the tariff hike, South Africans will face increased electricity costs in the coming months. While the 10% increase for poorer households may provide some relief, many consumers will still struggle with the significant increases for industrial, urban, and municipal customers. As the country grapples with ongoing load shedding and rising electricity costs, the need for sustainable solutions and transparent communication from both the government and Eskom becomes increasingly important.