South Africa’s energy regulator cuts increase in electricity rates
12 March 2012
Sunday news - March 10, 2012
JOHANNESBURG — South Africa’s energy regulator said on Friday last week it had cut the increase in electricity rates for power utility Eskom to 16 percent for the 2012/13 financial year from a previously approved hike of 25,9 percent.
The decision follows Eskom’s application to reduce the hike after the utility had been asked by the government to ease up on private and industrial consumers, who have been hit in recent years with soaring power costs.
Energy-intensive users, including South Africa’s vital mining industry, have long said that the steep increases were making some of their operations unsustainable.
Cash-strapped Eskom has been struggling to raise the money it needs to build power plants fast to avoid a repeat of a crisis that forced mines to shut for days in 2008 and cost Africa’s biggest economy billions of dollars in lost output.