Eskom tariff hikes would spell further disaster - DA

BY CHARL BOSCH - JANUARY 20, 2016

Democratic Alliance (DA) Eastern Cape leader Athol Trollip has blasted Eskom’s seeking of a 16% increase in electricity tariffs from March first, saying the approval would “obliterate” any job opportunity hopes for unemployment residents in Nelson Mandela Bay (NMB).

His comments come after the beleaguered state-owned parastatal announced on Monday that it had submitted a so-called Regulatory Clearing Account application to the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (Nersa), for the recovery of R22.8-billion for the 2013 / 2014 financial year.

A series of meetings on the matter, which started in Cape Town, is currently taking place in Port Elizabeth, where after proceedings conclude in Durban on Thursday.

Speaking in a statement, Trollip said the application is evident of the African National Congress’ (ANC) poor management of Eskom, adding that residents would be forced to carry a brunt negatively effecting job creation.

“The insider-outsider economy is being worsened by a steadily growing municipal infrastructure backlog that currently sits at approximately R4 billion,” he said.

“When the ANC in NMB cut the maintenance infrastructure budget by R123 million last year, it turned away from job creation and the provision of quality services to this Metro’s most vulnerable residents”.

In a similar reaction, DA Shadow Minister of Public Enterprises Natasha Mazzone said a total of R73-million in bonuses had been paid to Eskom executives since 2008, despite the implementation of load shedding due a loss in generating capacity.

“The truth is that the current break in load-shedding is not the result of an improvement to Eskom’s ability to supply sufficient power – it rather reflects a drop in demand. When winter returns, so will the strain on our grid and this will mean load-shedding,” Mazzone said.

“[Along] with the upward pressure on food prices brought on by the drought, an increase in electricity tariffs will hit the poor hard. As the economy faces shocks on various fronts, we cannot afford for deficiencies in critical infrastructure to be a further hurdle to growth and prosperity”.