The South African Federation of Trade Unions (SAFTU) has expressed outrage at the National Energy Regulator of South Africa’s decision to grant Eskom an above inflation double-digit electricity tariff hike.
From April 1, cost of electricity will increase by 18.65%, despite the power utility’s escalation of rolling blackouts to stage 6 until further notice.
Escalating rolling blackouts mean that some areas are left without electricity for up to ten hours in a day.
The SAFTU general secretary, Zwelinzima Vavi, says the increase is devastating for the poor and working class.
“Workers, in particular women, are going to find it almost impossible to live normal lives- as if they were not already in a situation of impossibility- as a result of the escalating cost of living. We were already paying 16% for electricity last year. The fact that you can’t afford electricity means you’re going to have to go back to fetching wood.”
SAFTU says Eskom’s price hike will devastate the budgets of poor and working people:
Meanwhile, Energy analyst, Chris Yelland has warned that electricity price hikes will stimulate theft of electricity and increase the levels of non-payments from consumers.
Yelland says the latest hikes will have a huge impact on industries, the economy and the disposable income of consumers.
He further added that the high prices are diminishing returns for Eskom because more and more people will not be able to pay.
He says the increases also makes the business case for alternative energy more compelling.
“There will be increasing levels of nonpayment, theft of electricity, which is already a problem and also municipal arrears debt because municipalities will not be able to collect money from their customers and therefore not be able to pay what they owe to Eskom. So, there are diminishing returns from price increases.”
Price of electricity will soar in April: