14 June 2013 – The Swaziland Electricity Company (SEC) requested a 36.5% tariff increase for 2013, but the Swaziland Energy Regulator (SERA) awarded it only 9.3%. Subsequently the matter want to the country’s cabinet which reduced this tariff increase further to 5%, reports the Time of Swaziland.
This is less than the percentage increase effected by the SEC’s major supplier of electricity, Eskom of South Africa, in April 2013, and it has severe implications for the SEC, which had been looking at R280 million of investment to improve its system performance. Now, instead of rolling out these projects simultaneously, SEC will be forced to focus on only the most critical ones.
Economists have warned that this decision will lead to an unreliable power supply, which could make Swaziland unattractive to investors who seek a reliable and affordable power supply. “The low increment of the electricity hike is appreciated but should we celebrate it while SEC collapses?” a local economist asked.
During a meeting between SEC and the business community in which the utility was motivating the desired 36% hike, SEC MD Sengiphile Simelane said if it did not get its requested increase it would not have the funds to purchase electricity from Eskom and this would lead to load shedding.