Electricity is singularly important and makes life easier for all, from the rich to the poor. So an increase in electricity tariff is bound to elicit displeasure and jitters from many quarters, especially among the poor. That is exactly what is happening in South Africa right now.
The country’s electricity behemoth has just announced a price hike, and many South Africans are on edge. Of course, a price hike in no way means salaries have been increased and the cost of transport has been reduced. So people will have no pay for electricity although there might not be changes in their income.
South Africa’s energy regulator NERSA has permitted Eskom to increase electricity tariff by 18.65%. The state-owned utility had requested a much higher figure (32%), citing higher fuel costs and other issues, but NERSA settled for almost 19 per cent.
The increase will take effect on April 1 – certainly not a Fool’s Day, as the morbid reality would hit many hard despite the earlier announcement of the increase.
This isn’t the first time Eskom has sought an increase from the regulator. It turns out NERSA has never granted the utility’s full wishes each time, with both having to end in court for a resolution as a result.