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Cape Flats residents ‘don’t know how they will cope’ with another steep electricity tariff hike

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By Ragheema Mclean

In early 2023, the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (NERSA) approved a substantial 33.77% tariff increase, to be implemented over two years. The increase was front-loaded, with 2023 experiencing a 18.65% hike, while tariff rates for 2024 will rise by 12.74% come the 1st of April.

Speaking to VOC News, residents on the Cape Flats have voiced their disappointment, citing the already high cost of living. Many are concerned about how they will cope with these latest increases.

One resident expressed frustration, saying, “An electricity increase is just unfair; we are already struggling with electricity as it is. We are receiving 2 units for R10, and when this increase happens, we won’t even be able to buy electricity for R10.”

Another resident shared, “I can barely cope with the current tariff. For one week I use about R500 electricity, and I’m not even using my geyser anymore! I’m using gas to cook food. This is crazy.”

A third resident emphasized the financial strain, stating, “Another price hike is going to kill us! We are already struggling to make ends meet. We are spending thousands on electricity every month already. We can’t even cover our day-to-day basic needs with another increase. I don’t know what is going to happen to our people.”

Meanwhile. a pensioner highlighted the challenges faced by those dependent on social grants, saying, “We are really struggling. You buy light today, it’s up tomorrow. We are all pensioners. All we got this year was a R100 increase in our grant, but everything else has increased. How are we supposed to pay for everything?”

Speaking on VOC’s Ramadhan Am on Wednesday, Hasha Tlhotlhalemaje, General Manager of Regulations at Eskom said there are several factors that led to this tariff increase.

She explained, “The price of electricity wasn’t at the level where Eskom could recover its sufficient cost. We are in the process of migrating towards that, and therefore this increase was implemented for this year.”

“Eskom is trying to deal with these issues. We did not have enough investments for generation infrastructure, which is partly why we are in this trouble. If we don’t get investments, we will be unable to maintain the power stations and we’ll be in even worse situations.”

“The other main reason [for the increase] was that there were independent power producers who were supposed to be providing electricity but could not deliver. It’s a complex situation.”

Furthermore, commenting on concerns raised regarding which provisions are made for low consumption customers Tlhotlhalemaje noted that when NERSA makes the decision to implement increases, they do consider the poor residential customers.

She added, “There are subsidies for customers who use very little electricity. They do see a lower increase than the rest of the customer base.”

VOC News

Photo: VOCfm

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