Outa has welcomed a ruling by energy regulator, Nersa, that the electricity tariff hike for the 2017/18 will be under 2%.

Nersa ruled that the tariff increase would be 1.88%, down from an annual increase of 9%.

Outa was one of five entities which made presentations to Nersa on the Municipal Tariff hike notice. The other four entities included the Cape Town, Midvaal, Saldanha Bay municipalities and Johannesburg’s City Power.

We are concerned that there are over 280 Municipalities in SA, thousands of corporate entities and millions of citizens directly affected by the retail tariff regime, yet only five entities made representations on the Municipal Tariff hike notice to Nersa,”  said Ted Blom, Outa’s Energy Portfolio Director.

The organisation argued the increases should be recalculated off a “zero base” as discrepancies between various municipality’s tariffs were not justified and increases should not be higher than that granted to Eskom.

“Given the 1st June deadline for municipalities to publish new tariffs, we expect a massive rush of late applications for Nersa to condone increases above the 1.88% cap,” said Blom. “SA has over 280 municipalities who were most likely relying on another big increase to subsidize other expenses and as such, the crunch is on the horizon.”

Outa said considering various actions to amend the manner in which notices are delivered and the period of such validity.

“In a Constitutional Democracy, not only must the voices of the people be heard, it must be seen to be heard. We will, therefore, endeavour to improve the engagement process between state institutions, which exist to serve citizens and the people of our country who deserve proper service delivery,” Blom said.

[Image CC 2.0 by lifeofpix]