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Lobby groups call for public hearings over high electricity tariffs

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Cape Town lobby groups are calling for an urgent public hearing to be held by the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (Nersa) following the City of Cape Town increasing electricity tariffs earlier this month despite the tariff not being approved by Nersa.

STOP COCT founder Sandra Dickson said it is not unusual that Nersa still hasn’t approved the tariffs.

“This is an annual occurrence and the city banks on the fact that council approves the tariffs thinking that should be enough to make the public pay more. Although there was opposition from the public in previous years, the city ignored us because Nersa never took the time to hold public meetings for municipal settings,” she said.

“We are calling for the meeting to see what exactly was approved by Nersa and whether the city is adhering. Since 2016 the city would increase rates and tariffs far higher than approved by the regulator,” she added.

Dixon said a similar tariff increase was imposed on Tshwane and Johannesburg which led to Cape Town residents calling for the public meeting.

“The city of Tshwane and Joburg also tried to institute the fixed levy on their consumers and there was a huge push back which led to an activist group taking the city to court. Hastily Nersa was forced to have a meeting to hear the calls of the public. We were stuck with this situation for a long time and now we are calling for a meeting too,” she added.

Dixon said they have since received a positive response from Nersa which installs some form of hope.

“The response was good. The head of the communications has replied, along with the dispute department at Nersa, so now we have to wait and see what happens next,” she said.

Nersa spokesperson Charles Hlebela said Nersa was not forced to conduct public hearings. It decided to conduct it in Tshwane when it became aware of concerns raised.

“At this stage we are not able to comment on Cape Town because we are not in possession of that information at this current stage,” he said.


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