By Adam Wakefield, News24
Eskom’s request for an additional increase in electricity prices has been declined by the National Energy Regulator of SA (Nersa) on Monday.
Making the announcement in Pretoria before assembled media and officials, chairperson Jacob Modise said there were several reasons as to why Nersa has turned down the application.
“Some of the commissioning dates have lapsed. No information has been provided by Eskom regarding the new commissioning dates regarding the application. As a result, the energy regulator is unable to assess the required usage and financial impact of the open cycle gas turbines,” Modise said.
“The impact of the above mentioned changes cannot be considered in isolation in terms of other factors such as savings associated with the operations and or delay of Medupi, Kusile [and other power plants].”
Eskom asked Nersa to approve a 9.58% price hike. This would have brought the total increase this year to over 22% after prices also rose in April.
Eskom, which imposes rolling blackouts on an almost daily basis due to inadequate electricity capacity, is facing a funding gap to 2018 of up to R200bn.
Eskom last week came one step closer to receiving R23bn and converting its R60bn subordinated loan into equity, after the National Council of Provinces passed the two bills tabled by Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene on Friday.
This comes after the House of Representatives passed the bill on Wednesday.
“Both Houses of Parliament have passed the two bills … to enable a R23bn allocation to Eskom and conversion of a R60bn subordinated loan to the company into equity,” Treasury said in a statement on Friday.
The International Monetary Fund also warned last week that severe electricity shortages had become the greatest obstacle to South Africa’s growth.
Although Eskom was aiming for increases to be implemented almost nearly immediately if granted, it became apparent in the hearings last week that any new increase could only come into effect in July next year because municipalities would not be able to pass the increase on to their consumers.