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Business Chamber responds to Constitutional Court Ruling

Thomas Resized

BUSINESS CHAMBER RESPONSE:  Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chamber President Thomas Schaefer said not only will businesses suffer because of such irrational electricity increases, but so will individual households who are struggling to make ends meet in the current recessionary environment.

We have taken cognisance of the recent ruling of the Constitutional Court’s ruling which upheld the SCA’s decision regarding the powers and functions of the electricity Regulator, Nersa, in relation to what we consider to be unreasonable electricity tariff hikes in South Africa.

This decision relates to a Supreme Court of Appeal’s ruling earlier this year that affirmed the Regulator’s decision to allow Eskom’s application for a country-wide tariff adjustment.

The Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chamber is particularly concerned by the potential negative impact on local businesses, and the rest of commerce and industry throughout South Africa, if Nersa were to allow Eskom to institute maximum tariff increases substantially exceeding inflationary levels next year.

Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chamber President Thomas Schaefer said not only will businesses suffer because of such irrational electricity increases, but so will individual households who are struggling to make ends meet in the current recessionary environment.

Although the ruling reverses a high court judgment which had originally set aside an interim tariff increase in 2016, the Business Chamber believes that by challenging the Regulator it has ensured an increased level of scrutiny and accountability of Eskom and its practices. This coupled with the increased public awareness around the governance concerns relating to Eskom will hopefully contribute to a more realistic approach on the part of Nersa when considering future tariff adjustments.

“We appreciate the clarification given by our Courts as to how the Regulator is to be approached in these matters, and we will continue to lobby on behalf of business in Nelson Mandela Bay against high electricity cost and continue to fight unreasonable electricity tariff increases on behalf of business,” Schaefer said.

It is our sincere hope that sense prevails in the setting of electricity tariffs for 2018, said Schaefer.

“Eskom is experiencing a surplus of electricity and it is our hope that next year’s increases will be dealt with in a reasonable manner by both Eskom and Nersa. Increases should be kept at no more than inflationary levels or less,” Schaefer said.

The Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chamber extends its sincere thanks to our member companies, co-applicants in this matter, as well as our legal team for the continued support.

“Business needs to be efficient and competitive to survive in the long-term and fundamental to achieving this, is the provision of reliable and cost effective services to businesses and their supply chains,” Schaefer said.

Issued by: The Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chamber

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