Electricity consumers may face even steeper electricity tariff increases than was announced last week, as Eskom approached the Gauteng High Court on Friday to implement a judgment despite a pending appeal.
Rapport notes that the court earlier ruled in Eskom’s favour that the R69-billion bailout it received from government had been erroneously subtracted by Nersa (National Energy Regulator of South Africa) from the allowed tariffs. The court ruled that Nersa should allow Eskom an additional R23-billion in revenue for the coming financial year, but the order was suspended, as Nersa is appealing the judgment.
On Friday, Eskom argued that the appeal will not be finalised by 15 March, which is the deadline for increases in tariffs from 1 April. Eskom argued that at least R16-billion should be released immediately to sustain the utility from 1 April. Together with the latest concessions made by Nersa on Thursday, Eskom would then be able to hike tariffs by 15% or more, which is the increase it contends is necessary.
Legalbrief Today reported that Nersa approved an additional R6-billion of revenue last Thursday. This translated to an increase of at least 9.5%, up from the earlier approved increase of 5.22%, but still far short of what Eskom was seeking. Analyst Peter Attard Montalto says the lower than demanded increase approved by Nersa last week, together with further Covid-19 induced pressure and the fact that Nersa is struggling to obtain finance will lead to further required bailouts from the government.