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Eskom reconsiders plan to raise tariffs

Eskom power –
prices to be
Johannesburg, South Africa — MININGREVIEW.COM — 21 November 2008 – South Africa’s state-owned utility, Eskom, is to review its plan to raise tariffs on power in light of the current global financial turmoil.

Eskom, which provides 95% of South Africa’s power, had said it would raise tariffs as part of its efforts to raise money for its R343 billion new power investment programme.

Reuters reports that Eskom spokesman Fani Zulu said in an e-mailed statement: “The recent international financial and economic developments have necessitated that we review our assumptions that underpin the tariff application.” He did not, however, elaborate on what the review would entail.

South Africa’s power regulator approved a total 27% tariff hike in June this year, well short of the 53% hike requested by Eskom.

“The new application will be submitted once the review has been completed,” said Zulu, “and this will happen in the coming weeks.”

Another Eskom official was quoted as saying last week that consumers were strained already on the back of the global economic crisis, adding that the utility might not be able to succeed in securing the increases it had hoped for.

Eskom is battling to meet demand in Africa’s biggest economy. It has been rationing electricity since January, when the national grid nearly collapsed, leading to a five-day shutdown of mines in the world’s biggest producing country of platinum and second-largest miner of gold.