The CEO of the Swaziland Energy Regulatory Authority (SERA) announced that electricity tariffs would increase by 11.7% with effect from 1 April 2015, the Swazi observer reported.

Vusi Mkhumane announced the decision to implement a multiyear tariff increase over the next two years at a media briefing held at SERA’s headquarters on Friday.

SERA granted the Swaziland Electricity Company (SEC) permission to implement the increase in an attempt to recoup the costs involved in the total electricity supply process.

Energy consumers will pay E1.12 ($.09) per unit compared to the current E1 ($.08) per unit.

Motivation behind tariff increase

  • South African energy supplier Eskom will be increasing electricity tariffs by 13% in April 2015
  • Swaziland depends on hydro as a main power source and the reduced rainfall has placed a hindrance on electricity generation, resulting in greater electricity imports
  • Local water reserves have been used to generate power to off-set the irregular supply from Eskom due to regular load-shedding
  • Recent increase of network and operational costs
  • Weakening of the rand against the dollar, increasing foreign trade costs

Independent economist Christopher Fakudze says the increase will not only negatively affect end users but will drastically inflate input and production costs.

“The country needs to find alternative ways of generating electricity and unless this is realised then the future is very bleak indeed. This thorn situation will have ripple effects that will trickle even to other sectors of the country’s economy”, Fakudze said.

He continued: “Electricity is very essential in our lives and it is now at par with fuel with its importance.
This will effectively escalate the pricing of commodities in the country”.

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Nicolette Pombo-van Zyl has been working in the African power, energy and water sectors since 2011, first with African Utility Week and now as the Editor of ESI Africa. She is also an Advisory Board member of the Global and African Power & Energy Elites publications. With her passion for sustainable business and placing African countries on the international stage, Nicolette takes a keen interest in current affairs and technology trends.