South Africa’s National Energy Regulator, NERSA, have received a number of complaints from consumers saying that they are being charged more for power by electricity resellers.

Nersa’s Thembani Bukula said, “The pricing policy states that they [electricity resellers] must not charge prices or tariffs that will leave the customers in a less favorable position than if they were supplied directly by the municipality”. He spoke yesterday, during Nersa’s public hearings on guidelines for the electricity reseller tariffs in Johannesburg.

The law states that a reseller is not permitted to charge a customer more for electricity than what Eskom or the municipality typically would.

There are currently 2400 different tariff structures in South Africa, based on consumer mix and area, and there exists no universal approach to tariff for municipalities. “We have too many different tariff structures. This will affect the average households” said Bukula.

“You find a situation that people who are in body corporates and places supplied by resellers pay more than people in free-standing houses or areas that are supplied by the municipality” he continued.

Numerous municipalities and resellers had made suggestions to the Nersa panel as to what the regulator should consider.

Illegal connections could be attributed to the costs incurred by electricity resellers, resulting in higher prices for consumers, explained Bongani Dinge of PEC Utility Management.

Dinge suggested that Eskom introduce a discounted reseller tariff – “A balanced tariff structure will optimise the efficiency and transparency of the management of the electricity utility”.

Bukula said that the panel plans to have all processes finalized by the end of year.