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Friday, 22 August 2014

Electricity hikes stifle economic recovery in South Africa

Eskom being a public company that monopolises the South African energy generation sector, Eskom’s business model allows it to be able to absorb under-recovery of revenue from its customers. “An increase in competition in the form of private sector companies into the industry would force Eskom to rethink their business model,” says Muneerah Salie, industry analyst for energy and environment at Frost & Sullivan Africa.

“The question that remains is for how much longer the average consumer will be able to pay for, or afford, these tariff increases. Currently, municipalities across the country owe Eskom about R3-billion. Taxpayers that are paying their accounts every month might feel that they are being unfairly penalised by having to compensate for those customers that are defaulting on payments. Privatisation of the industry would allow Eskom to develop a more efficient system with a more accurate invoicing and debt collection system.”

Salie says the additional tariff increases are potentially unaffordable for the average South African consumer. “It is also expected that businesses will suffer, with many companies already taking drastic measures in order to remain profitable. Tariff adjustments play a large part in the sustainability of the South African economy and this additional increase is unlikely to aid in economic growth.”