19 March 2008 – Eskom is allegedly seeking a 60% increase in tariffs from the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (NERSA). Thembani Bukula, NERSA’s electricity regulator, confirmed the request had been filed.

Thembani

Electricity regulator,
Thembani Bukula

The Business Day newspaper reports that the motivation for the price increases were the increase of primary energy costs and accelerated demand side management costs. The tariff increase would apparently only relate to electricity generated by Eskom and it is believed municipalities may also increase distribution costs, which could see prices rise by almost 70%.

The price increase, if granted, would put South Africa in line with Canada in terms of electricity prices.

"As regulator we have to consider their request. We have been told that this is urgent. We are already in the process of analysing the application and putting together a consultation paper to engage those who would be affected, which I guess is all of us," said Bukula when asked if NERSA would consider Eskom’s request.

A decision will be made after public consultation and will most likely be available within three months.

"We are following a due process in terms of the application for the tariff increase. It is not for us to say that. The regulator will have a public session where they can announce the increase that we have requested," said Ra’eesah Waja, Eskom spokesperson.

She further confirmed that any tariff increases would not affect industrial customers who have long term contracts with Eskom.