Following a month of public hearings over Eskom’s application to recoup ZAR22.8 billion ($2 billion) through a regulatory clearing account (RCA), the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (Nersa) has announced that it will disclose its decision next week.

Nersa delays decision

Consumers can gear up to hear the decision over the 16.6% tariff increase on Tuesday, 1 March 2016, which was expected to unfold yesterday, Eye Witness News reported.

According to Nersa’s head of communications, Charles Hlebela, in order for the regulator to make an informed decision, further information needs to be obtained and clarified.

“Some of the information is coming from Eskom and some of them from the organisations that made an input to this application.”

Negative impact on industry

[quote]Eskom has argued that this increase is necessary to recoup the ZAR22.8 billion ($2 billion).

This has raised concerns amongst many business and industries, whom the country depends on for GDP growth, such as the agricultural sector.

In January, Agri Wes-Cape CEO Carl Opperman stated that: “The ZAR255 million ($15,155 million) cost of electricity for the entire industry would increase dramatically.”

He added, “We cannot accept the amount that is on the table, we cannot absorb it!”

Opperman also highlighted the importance of the cold-chain in the agricultural sector, whereby produce needs to be kept at specific temperatures at various stages in the production process.

The process is dependent on electricity and is also subject to interruption during load shedding.

He said load shedding had led to a 40% decline in the quality of maize crops, although the price for power remained unchanged.