Eskom tariff-hike hearings kick off

Pretoria - Public hearings on Eskom's application for a 35 percent tariff hike begin today in Nelspruit.

Eskom late last year made an application to the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (Nersa) requesting a 35 percent hike in electricity tariffs to raise funds for its R385 billion power expansion programme and ensure power security in the future.

Nersa will hold public hearings on the application in all provinces, ending in Midrand, on 21 January.

Today's hearings will take place at the Nelspruit City Hal from 9am and will be completed by 3pm.

After initially asking for a 45 percent increase every year for the next three years, Eskom reviewed its application and instead requested a 35 percent hike.

It announced last month it had borrowed R13 billion from French banks - BNP Paribas, Calyon, Société Générale, Natixis and Credit Industriel et Commercial.

Eskom said the loan would be used to finance part of the Medupi and Kusile turbine contracts with Alstom S&E Africa.

The loan is payable over 12 years after the commissioning of the relevant units of the two power stations.

The first unit of the 4800MW Medupi plant is due for commissioning in 2012. Eskom has delayed commissioning the first unit of the 4800MW Kusile power station by a year to 2014.

Nersa is expected to make its ruling on Eskom's tariffs next month. - BuaNews