Energy regulator Nersa’s proposal to increase municipal electricity tariffs by another 7.47% in July 2022 will put many South Africans over the edge, says Neil Roets, chief executive of Debt Rescue.
This figure constitutes a 3.49% increase for the 2022/23 year, and this is separate from the 9.6% annual increase for Eskom customers that kicked in on 1 April. The price hikes will take the average electricity tariff in South Africa from just over R1.33 per kWh to around R1.46, he said.
“The reality is that consumers have been wrestling with constant electricity price increases over the past year – with no end in sight.
“On 1 April 2021 South Africans woke up to a 15.6% increase – one of the largest in the country’s history. In real terms, this bought consumers 137.74 units of electricity for R200. Fast forward to April 2022 and the same R200 will get you only 136.98 units,” he said.
Roets said these increases impact South Africans from all walks of life and show no signs of slowing down.
“We all need power to keep our households and businesses running. We rely on electricity for everything we need to make life comfortable – and indeed possible – from running a hot bath to heating our food, not to mention the home entertainment that provides respite from the onslaught of spiralling living costs. There is no getting away from spending money to keep the lights on.” ”
Roets said these steady increases are a particularly bitter pill as the country faces continuous bouts of load shedding.
“Viewed in isolation, perhaps the burden of ever-increasing electricity prices might have been more easily absorbed had consumers not also had to contend with rising interest rates and skyrocketing fuel prices. Add to this the compounded effect on basic food prices, and there is no way to soften the blow.
“Low-income households spend a far larger proportion of their income on food, transport costs and basic housing, so inevitably they bear the brunt of this. There is no way to justify pushing people to the depths of despair.”
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