South Africans have until January the 20th to challenge Eskom’s proposed 17% electricity tariff hike.

Eskom made an application to the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (Nersa) requesting the increase, claiming this as an under-recovery for 2018/2019 financial year.

General Manager for Regulations at Eskom Hasha Tlhotlhalemaje says their request is nothing new.

“This is a normal process that we do on an annual basis. And it is looking at the difference at the decision that Nersa made and what actually materialized for the past financial year. It amounts to R27-billion and it’s mainly due to the nature of the decision that Nersa made where it expected the coal price to go down which could have not happened. And there were other reasons as well,” says Tlhotlhalemaje.

Nersa’s electricity subcommittee is expected to announce its decision in March 2020.

Eskom is among the biggest power utilities in the world and has recently been marred by failure to deliver its mandate to the public, with South Africans dealing with the worst rolling blackouts.

Last week, the situation got worse where for the first time in history it introduced stage six load shedding.

This led to President Cyril Ramaphosa cutting short his trip to Egypt to attend to the problems at the power utility.

He held an urgent meeting with Cabinet on Friday in a bid to find a lasting plan for the country’s energy dilemma.