AfriForum is of the opinion that Eskom’s planned increase in fixed tariffs will punish clients and have unintended consequences.
Eskom plans on significantly increasing the fixed component that all Eskom consumers must pay to link them to the network, while decreasing the fluctuating consumption costs.
Morné Mostert, AfriForum’s Manager for Local Government Affairs, says that the increase is unfair. “The fact that technology and the market are changing so rapidly is a consequence of Eskom’s drastic tariff increases. Neither is there any urgency to work more effectively. If they continue increasing their tariffs, people will be looking for greener and cheaper alternatives.”
Mostert argues that Eskom has a responsibility to sort out its own mismanagement before turning to consumers to pay even more in a bid to resolve problems. “Eskom should also realise that its unstable power delivery – and not only costs – forced people to consider other technologies. People will be looking for other alternatives, despite this step.”
Dr Eugene Brink, Strategic Advisor for Community Affairs at AfriForum, says that is uncertain whether Eskom will also decrease its fluctuating consumption costs. “Although they offer it as an appeasement, there is no guarantee that they will also lower consumption costs; in fact, they will apply more pressure for higher consumption prices.”
According to Brink, this step will compel people who are increasingly dependent on solar power and only use Eskom power in emergencies to finally bid Eskom farewell. Thereafter, Eskom will probably try to burden people who only have solar panels and power with a levy, even though they do not even use any Eskom power.”
Mostert says any cost structure change at Eskom must be preceded by an amended supplier cost framework or research document. “We have not seen anything yet,” he concludes.