NERSA’s failure to hold public hearings on the proposed 7.47% increase in municipal tariffs is illegal

Issued by Kevin Mileham MP – DA Shadow Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy
04 Apr 2022 in News

Please find an attached soundbite by Kevin Mileham MP 

The decision by the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (NERSA) to not hold public hearings on the proposed municipal electricity tariff increase is at odds with the provisions of the NERSA Act and therefore illegal.

The DA will be writing to NERSA requesting that they honour their obligations in terms of the NERSA Act, and allow South Africans to share their views on the proposed municipal tariff increase. Should NERSA fail to honour this request, any action taken to implement this tariff increase will be illegal and open to legal contestation.

Based on a discussion document that it recently published, NERSA is proposing an average increase of 7,47% in municipal electricity tariffs from 1 July 2022.  The NERSA advisory goes on to state that, due to time pressure, there will be no public hearings on the matter.

In making this decision, NERSA has violated section 10(1) (d) of the NERSA Act which states that:

10 (1) Every decision of the Energy Regulator must be in writing and be –

(d) taken within a procedurally fair process in which affected persons have the opportunity to submit their      views and present relevant facts and evidence to the Energy Regulator.

By foregoing a public participation process on the municipal tariff increase, NERSA is denying residents and municipalities an opportunity for a procedurally fair process to air their views on this increase. Consumers are already struggling to keep the lights on at current electricity prices cost levels, yet NERSA thinks it is not important to canvass their views on another tariff increase.

Due to the limited ability of municipalities to absorb costs and cushion consumers against electricity tariff increases, the costs will be passed on to the consumer. It is simply unacceptable for tariffs hikes to be imposed on consumers without any public hearings. A cloak-and-dagger operation, carried out without the input of those who would be most affected, is simply not right.

Consumers should not be punished for NERSA’s inability to get its house in order on the electricity price methodology. The DA will fight against any attempt to impose an above-inflationary electricity increase on consumers without public participation.