Published On: Fri, Nov 13th, 2015

COSATU opposes proposed electricity price increase

COSATU HOUSE1JOHANNESBURG, (CAJ News) – THE Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) has opposed plans by the power utility, Eskom, to recoup R22,8 billion (about $1,65 billion) it reportedly spent on averting load shedding in winter.

It has been reported the power utility aims to recover the money through tariff increases, much to the irritation of the labour body.

COSATU has since lobbied the industry regulator, the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (NERSA) as part of plans to resist the proposed electricity price hike.

The influential labour body argued millions of South Africans were unemployed as well as living in extreme abject poverty hence the increases would worsen their plight.

COSATU spokesman, Sizwe Pamla, on Friday said any increase in the price of electricity would not be accepted.

“Workers salaries are not keeping up with the escalating food, energy, transport and education costs and therefore they cannot afford to fork out more money for electricity,” he said.

“Millions of South Africans are unemployed and are living in extreme poverty and the country’s economy is limping. Any increase in the price of electricity will worsen an already worse situation. This will also have negative implications for the economy and will likely result in further job losses.”

He said COSATU would shield workers from “bullying” into paying for the “mistakes of others.”

This is in reference to the maladministration concerns that rocked the company for the better part of the year.

“Eskom’s problems are self inflicted because they failed to maintain their plants and to build new power stations on time,” Pamla added.

“We have an economy that is already haemorrhaging jobs and the increase in electricity hikes will put more strain on the economy. Over the last five years Eskom has repeatedly fleeced workers with electricity price increases that are often four times the level of inflation.”

He proposed the solution as building more energy capacity.

“We also need to increase our renewable energy capacity, such as solar and wind energy,” Pamla said.

Pamla argued that renewable sources of energy were cheap, fast, environmentally friendly and safe before condemning Eskom’s pursued nuclear energy plans.

CAJ News

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