Fuel and electricity hikes add to gloom

TOUGH times lie ahead for hard-pressed South African consumers as fuel and electric­ity prices kick in this month.
The Department of Energy on Friday announced increases in fuel prices, with effect from Wednesday. Petrol 95 and 93 will rise by 88c a litre and 86c a litre, respectively Diesel 0.05 percent and 0.005 percent would increase by 95.7c a litre and 97.7c a litre, respectively, the department said.
It attributed the increases to the 30c per litre increase in fuel levies announced by Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan in his Budget speech in February, an increase in transportation costs as a result of increases in pipeline tariffs and road transportation tariffs and in­creases in the petroleum prices in the international market.

75% Amount majority of indebted consumers already owe of their monthly pay

National Energy Regulator of SA (Nersa) last week approved an increase of 23.03 percent in allowable rev­enue for Transnet’s petroleum pipelines system. As a result of the increase in allowable rev­enue, pipeline tariffs will rise by 18.56 percent, with effect from Wednesday
Meanwhile, electricity in­creases kicked in on Friday for Eskom’s direct customers. Increases for users who are supplied by the various muni­cipalities will be effective in July. The looming increases add to the burden of consumers who are already battling rising food prices.
Reserve Bank governor Lesetja Kganyago last month said food prices had been accelerating faster than pre­viously expected, due to the weaker exchange rate and the intensification of the drought, resulting in an upward revision to the food price forecast. He said manufactured food price inflation measured 7.8 percent in the producer price index, while agricultural prices in­creased by 25.9 percent.
The increases are likely to push more consumers deeper into debt. Debt Rescue chief executive Neil Roets said the company had seen a “double- digit” increase in applications for debt counselling.
“Figures released by the National Credit Regulator and Statistics SA stated that the majority of indebted con­sumers already owed 75 per­cent of their monthly pay to creditors,” Roets said.
He said the petrol and diesel prices would hit consumers like a ton of bricks. “Add to this a predicted 7 percent inflation rate with food inflation ex­pected to rise to 12 percent, the economic outlook for the future is bleak for consumers who are already struggling to repay their debt,” Roets said.

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