AfriForum halts planned tariff increases for Tshwane Metro

The Tshwane Metro may not continue with the implementation of its new electricity tariff increases as presented to the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (Nersa).

This follows after the civil rights organisation AfriForum requested in a letter from its legal team that Nersa does not approve the increase because the planned increase would boil down to a tariff that is higher than the proposed 13,8% for municipalities, over and above other shortcomings.

Jaco Grobbelaar, AfriForum’s District Coordinator for Greater Pretoria, who attended Nersa’s meeting on Friday 28 June 2019, says the organisation welcomes Nersa’s decision.

“Nersa sharply criticised the Tshwane Metro and said that the council must get its house in order and also indicated that AfriForum’s proposals regarding a public participation process will be considered.”

The Tshwane Metro this past month announced three different electricity tariff increases for the 2019/2020 term. These tariff increases include an electricity increase of 12% with the three basic tariff charges of respectively R56, R120 and R200 that are payable before any electricity is consumed. AfriForum is opposing these excessive increases and will continue with steps to see to it that reasonable tariff increases are implemented.

The basic tariff means that electricity consumers will need to pay this tariff before any electricity is even consumed. For prepaid electricity consumers this means that if you purchase electricity to the value of R56, R120 or R200, you will receive no units for the electricity purchased and will need to purchase additional electricity before receiving any units at all. 

The first increase announcement appeared in the Integrated Development Plan (IDP) and includes a basic tariff of R56 that is applicable to all consumers. The second announcement appeared in the Government Gazette of 19 June 2019 and includes a basic tariff of R200. AfriForum furthermore, via a PAIA process, obtained a third basic tariff increase of R120 that was proposed by the Metro. According to AfriForum’s calculations, the basic charge of R56 as proposed in the IDP will not be a problem and consumers might even pay less than before, but the other two proposed basic tariff charges will not reach the cut-off point of 13,8%.   

Nersa’s guidelines for electricity increases recommend a proposed increase of 13,8% for municipalities to ensure that these increases do not become excessive. The problem with the basic tariff charges, as proposed by the Metro, is however that the percentage increase for electricity consumers will be considerably more than the proposed 13,8%.

According to Grobbelaar the Metro is attempting to have consumers pay much more than what is being prescribed by Nersa.

“AfriForum believes the Tshwane Metro has found a way via a devious manner to have consumers pay much more than the allowed 13,8%. The charges of R200 and R120 are sharp increases compared to the proposed R56 and seem to be unreasonable and cannot be justified.”

Thanks to AfriForum’s intervention the proposed tariff increase will therefore not take effect on 1 July, but only later after a reasonable process was followed. For the time being the tariff will remain unchanged until further notice.

AfriForum implores the residents of Pretoria to oppose the increases. Add your voice to the complaint by following this link and help to strengthen AfriForum’s hand:

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