Sunday, December 23, 2007

COSATU condemns electricity price hike

By Henry Booysen
23 December 2007

The Congress of South African Trade Unions has condemned the National Electricity Regulator (NERSA) for allowing ESKOM to increase the price of electricity by 14.2%.

COSATU believes that the increase will have negative effects focussing on the affordability and the overall package of basic services for the poor.

Spokesperson Patrick Craven adds that there are massive development challenges facing South Africa and many households face periodic cut-offs due to cost as a result of unemployment and continuous poverty.

“The price increase will cause serious hardships to all your consumers, particularly the poorer consumers who are struggling with the huge increases food fuel and other basic necessities. Many of them will probably have to stop using electricity altogether,” says Craven.

Meanwhile Eskom said that the hike will enable it to roll-out its programme to meet increasing power demand. The electricity giant is under strain to increase its capacity to provide power amid constant power failures.

COSATU is demanding an extended consultation process and a freeze on price hikes until all options have been revised.

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