21 November 2008 – South Africa’s state-owned utility Eskom will review its plan to raise tariffs on power in light of the global financial turmoil, the company’s spokesperson said on Thursday. Eskom, which provides 95% of South Africa’s power, said it would raise tariffs as part of its efforts to raise money for its R343-billion new power investment programme. "The recent international financial and economic developments have necessitated that we review our assumptions that underpin the tariff application," spokesman Fani Zulu said in an emailed statement. He did not elaborate on what the review would entail.
South Africa’s power regulator last approved a total 27% tariff hike in June this year, short of a 53% hike requested by Eskom. "The application will be submitted once the review has been completed. This will happen in the coming weeks," Zulu said. Another Eskom official said last week that consumers were strained already on the back of the global economic crisis, adding the utility might not be able to get through the increases it had hoped for. Eskom is battling to meet demand in Africa’s biggest economy. It has been rationing electricity since January, when the national grid nearly collapsed, leading to a five-day shutdown of mines in the world’s biggest producer of platinum and second-largest miner of gold.