Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chamber court challenge over Eskom tariff hikes set for mid-June

APRIL 1, 2016

The Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chamber is forging ahead with the legal case to get electricity prices in the country reduced, Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chamber CEO, Kevin Hustler, said on Friday.

"As one of the prominent business chambers in South Africa we took the lead in lobbying on behalf of our 700 members on this very pertinent issue that is affecting the sustainability of our member companies," said Hustler.

"The Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chamber, together with various energy intensive industrial companies based in Nelson Mandela Bay, this week brought an application to prevent Friday [April 1]’s electricity increase.

"The increase involved the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (Nersa) approval of an additional R11.2-billion increase for Eskom through the Regulatory Clearing Account (RCA)."

The legal team of the Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chamber and its co-applicants - the energy intensive member companies known as the High Energy users Group – reached an out of court agreement with Eskom and Nersa, prior to the hearing in the Pretoria High Court on Thursday [March 31].

"Eskom and Nersa agreed to have the RCA decision reviewed by the High Court on an urgent basis," described Hustler.

"In addition, Eskom agreed that in the event that the RCA decision by Nersa is proven on review to have been wrong, Eskom will refund all amounts that may have been overpaid from April 1.

"Given the significance of the matter to the South African economy, a request has been made to the Deputy Judge President of the Pretoria High Court that the review should be heard by a full bench (three judges)."

He said that the Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chamber’s matter was postponed to mid-June 2016 for the court to decide whether Nersa was correct in granting the RCA increase.