Release Date: 18 July, 2022
Off-grid households 'targeted' in proposed Eskom tariff hikes
If Eskom’s new proposed tariff hike is implemented, it could hit hardest the pockets of households using less electricity than the average — as well as those living off the grid.
On July 5, the Pretoria high court ordered the National Energy Regulator of SA (Nersa) to publish Eskom’s tariff application for an increase of 32.66% for 2023/24 by August 1.
Eskom GM of regulation, Hasha Tlhotlhalemaje, said it was difficult to give the final cost for homeowners because the tariff would only be announced by December 24.
But Eskom was using the 2020/21 financial year to base the increase on, which she said would likely be the case.
Tlhotlhalemaje said it was important to understand the context of the increased tariffs.
During the previous three financial years Nersa had incorrectly deducted R69bn from Eskom’s allowable revenue. They have been ordered to add this deduction back to Eskom over the next four years.
Despite this, if the tariff is accepted, it will see households which use other sources of electrical power, like solar, paying R720 more just to be connected to the Eskom supply.
In simple terms, those who are connected to the grid but do not use any of Eskom’s electricity would previously have paid R218, but will now pay R938.
Those who use 400kWh or below were paying R888, but will now pay R1,481 a month, and those who use 800kWh or below were paying R1,752 but will now pay R2,023 a month.
According to Eskom, the average household uses 900kWh of electricity per month.
The proposed tariff only works in the user’s favour once they exceed the typical monthly usage.
Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa) chair Wayne Duvenage said people going off the grid are now faced with a Catch-22 situation where they need to seek an alternative electricity supply, but are penalised for doing so.
He said Outa is still trying to unpack the new tariffs but on the face of it their concern was on how the crumbling power provider was going to charge individuals.