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Power hike bad for poor: Cosatu

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Trade federation Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) is gravely concerned about the impact the increase of electricity is having on the poor. Cosatu Western Cape regional secretary Tony Ehrenreich said any hike in electricity prices will have a devastating impact on the working class as poorer people spend a much larger portion of their income on electricity than wealthier people.

“Increase of electricity has a larger effect on the poor than any other class as they battle to survive with high prices of necessity goods,” says Ehrenreich.

Eskom has confirmed its price increases to be implemented on April 1. Consumers who get their electricity directly from Eskom, will pay 12.69% more for power, while municipalities will pay 14.25% more from July 1, 2015.

The federation is demanding that government needs to find alternative funding to pay for electricity capacity and fund the crises existing in Eskom at the moment.

Cosatu has appealed to Eskom and government to stop additional increases as it will cause the poor to become more impoverished.

“Poor people cannot pay for the problem caused by government…poor people should only have to pay only as much as they are able to in the time of the electricity crises. This will lead to the further impoverishment of the working class,” says Ehrenreich. VOC (Nailah Cornelissen)

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