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Govt to monitor Eskom's proposed tariff increase

by Luyanda Makapela
on 20 Mar 2008
BuaNews Online
BuaNews Online

Government has reaffirmed its commitment to monitor very closely the negotiations between Eskom and the regulator so that the proposed tariff increase on electricity does not adversely affect the poor.

Government will ensure that a differentiated tariff structure is put in place to protect the poor, low income households and small enterprises," Government spokesperson Themba Maseko said on Thursday.

The move follows after Eskom submitted the proposed electricity tariffs to the National Electricity Regulator of South Africa (NERSA) recently.

In a statement released by Cabinet, the proposed tariffs were due to the rising operational costs, in particular, the rise in the price of coal and diesel.

The possibility of introducing time based tariffs will also be explored.

A regulatory framework will be introduced to penalise those users who do not comply with electricity saving measures, the statement said.

"Although the response to the proposed tariff is fully understandable, it is important to note that such responses are premature at this stage because the new tariff is still a proposal that is subject to consideration by the regulator," said Mr Maseko.

"We should all take comfort in the fact that there will be an opportunity for all stakeholders and the public to comment on the Eskom proposals through public hearings," he added.

However, South Africans were urged to come to terms with the reality that it would be difficult for Eskom to continue providing the cheapest electricity rate in the world.

"Government once again reminds all South Africans that we are still in an emergency situation which requires behavior change and deliberate efforts to save electricity usage by at least 10 percent," Mr Maseko said.

He said efforts were under way to ensure that each industry agreed to targets for reduction of electricity usage in various sectors.

Mr Maseko said: "Initial indications are that many households and businesses are still not heeding the call to save electricity and this is contributing to the current wave of load shedding experienced in many parts of the country."

He said that government and Eskom were of the view that they cannot afford a situation where only large industries, such as mining, were made to bear the brunt of power cuts and saving electricity while the rest of society failed to heed the call to become more energy efficient.

"Government fully appreciates the inconvenience experienced by everyone and reiterates the apology for the inconvenience and discomfort that we are all going through at this time.

"We therefore appeal to all South Africans to exercise patience and resilience as everything is being done by Eskom, and the private sector, including Government, to address the emergency," said Mr Maseko. - BuaNews

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