26 October 2009

Petition: Eskom's Price Increases

I am sure this topic is a very popular dinner-table discussion in all households. Eskom’s proposal to almost treble the price of electricity over the next three years is an issue that affects us all. The first 45% increase, which will take effect next year in April 2010, will bring the price of electricity to 83 cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh). This ridiculous increase is after government loaned Eskom R60 billion and guaranteed R176bn of Eskom’s existing and future debt.

What does the increase mean to the average person in the street?
* It would lower disposable income of each household
* Increase in production cost means all goods on the shelf will increase in price
* It might deepen the local recession
* More retrenchments in the mining industry (where an estimated 40 000 people already lost their jobs)
* The poor and destitute (who will not be able to afford electricity anymore) will turn to more dangerous sources of heat and lighting.
* Unpredictably high inflation
* Our Reserve Bank uses interest rates to curb inflation – meaning that once the increase takes effect, we will see interest rate increases

Clearly this needs to be considered more, and careful consideration needs to be taken on the percentage that Eskom will be allowed to increase their tariffs. Please show your support and sign the online petition against the proposed increase. I am sure that an increase is not the only solution, and Eskom needs to start planning better and also harness natural resources like the sun and wind to make up the shortfall on electricity demand.

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