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Eskom piles higher tariffs on consumers

Eskom pending higher tariffs would pile pressure on cash-strapped households and business buckling under the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

South Africa’s High Court on Monday sided with Eskom in a dispute over the amounts the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (Nersa) allowed the state utility to claw back from customers for electricity supplied in the 2014/15, 2015/16 and 2016/17 financial years. Nersa’s 2018 decisions to allow Eskom to recoup R32.69-billion via a mechanism known as the regulatory clearing account (RCA) for those three years have been set aside, and it must now come up with new decisions.

Monday’s ruling could lead to higher power tariffs, as the court said it appeared Nersa had disallowed Eskom money for lower-than-forecast revenue based on a “fundamental factual error”. It said disallowing some coal costs was not rational. Higher tariffs would pile pressure on cash-strapped households and business buckling under the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, but they would be a relief for Eskom, which is mired in financial crisis and has long said the regulator has treated it unfairly.

While the rest of the world has made the move to new technology and LED lighting, most South Africans continue to use old inefficient fluorescent & discharge lamp technology, losing out on the energy-saving, environmental and cost-saving benefits of LEDs. Factors preventing the uptake of LED include installation and replacement costs and the reluctance of consumers to change. However, this does open up replacement opportunities for local companies, as does solar lighting.

LEDs reduce energy consumption by up to 70% for HIDs, and 45% for fluorescent. An 85-watt induction luminaire consumes 50% more energy than the LED alternative with the same lumen output. Bottom line is you will see immediate savings from implementing this technology.

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