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Electricity hikes won't affect poor - Govt

by Luyanda Makapela
on 02 Apr 2008
BuaNews Online
BuaNews Online

The Department of Minerals and Energy has assured South Africans that the proposed 53 percent electricity increase will not hit the poorest of the poor as the national regulator is still to engage in a process of public participation.

"We are looking at pushing for the poorest of our people so that they are not further implicated by the new cost reflective tariff structure," said Minerals and Energy Minister, Buyelwa Sonjica while addressing media in Johannesburg on Tuesday

National Energy Regulator of South Africa (NERSA) will engage in a public participation process regarding the proposed 53 percent increase by Eskom later this month.

Speaking on energy saving initiatives at the Rand Easter Show on Tuesday, Ms Sonjica encouraged communities to join government in the energy efficiency campaign.

"We are mindful of the impact the energy crisis has in the country given the situation. The message is clear; we must save electricity in a manner in which we use it."

Speaking to BuaNews, the minister said: "As we know 14.2 percent earlier proposed by Eskom is in inevitable, we need to look at ways in which we can implement electricity increase after public participation process."

With regards to solar water heaters, the minister said despite the prices, which ranged between R7 000 and R20 000, there were about one million solar heaters currently in use in South Africa.

She said because solar heating panels were expensive, government hoped to subsidise them in the future to make them more affordable.

Chief Executive Officer of the Electricity Distribution Industry (EDI) Holdings Phindile Nzimande, said the current electricity challenge was a reminder to speed up the restructuring programme.

"We are determined to ensure that the target of 10 percent savings on electricity set out by government and all the stakeholders to deal with the current emergency does find a meaningful expression in all the programmes of all our sectors and stakeholders.

"We believe that the effort to save electricity and use it efficiently should be approached in an integrated manner that encompasses generations' transmission and distribution," said the CEO.

In March, Philips South Africa (SA) announced that an energy-saving light bulb manufacturing plant was to be built in Lesotho to help South Africans in reducing their electricity consumption.

Philips South Africa's and the department announced the partnership which will see the country meet the growing need in energy efficient lighting solutions.

The joint venture will help to secure a sufficient supply of these light bulbs to meet the country's ambitious targets in electricity reduction, especially in the residential sector. - BuaNews

Compiled by the Government Communication and Information System

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