This will have huge ef­fect on Eswatini con­sumers – EEC

Observer on Saturday - - News -

The loom­ing elec­tric­ity hike in South Africa will def­i­nitely have a huge ef­fect on con­sumers in the coun­try. Eswatini Elec­tric­ity Com­pany (EEC) Mar­ket­ing and Cor­po­rate Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Man­ager Si­fiso Dh­lamini yes­ter­day high­lighted that with the in­crease in tar­iffs hav­ing been granted by the South African reg­u­la­tor, it is in­evitable that the price of elec­tric­ity would also in­crease in the coun­try. He said such ef­fects are un­avoid­able just like when the price of fuel is in­creased by OPEC, con­sumers are forced to feel the brunt in all coun­tries. OPEC is an ab­bre­vi­a­tion for Or­gan­i­sa­tion of Petroleum Ex­port­ing Coun­tries, which is a union of oil pro­duc­ing coun­tries that reg­u­late the amount of oil each coun­try is able to pro­duce.

“With such news, as EEC we’ll be forced to re­view the lo­cal tar­iffs. We’d have to en­gage the reg­u­la­tor (Eswatini En­ergy Reg­u­la­tory Author­ity) to see how we can ef­fect a re­view just as we have done in the past. The in­crease is un­avoid­able be­cause we buy most of our elec­tric­ity from Eskom,” he stated.

Mean­while, EEC is fresh from ef­fect­ing a 15 per cent elec­tric­ity tar­iff hike on April 1 this year. The elec­tric­ity hike was ef­fec­tively agreed to last year in Fe­bru­ary when EEC was granted its wish of a mul­ti­year av­er­age in­crease of 15 per cent. This meant that EEC did not need to go back to the Eswatini En­ergy Reg­u­la­tory Author­ity (SERA) for an ap­pli­ca­tion on an­other tar­iff in­crease, but sim­ply had to ef­fect the agreed tar­iff hike last year. Gov­ern­ment also made an at­tempt to in­tro­duce a value added tax (VAT) on elec­tric­ity, which would have meant an ad­di­tional 14 per cent. The in­tro­duc­tion of the VAT on elec­tric­ity tar­iff was stopped by Par­lia­ment, dur­ing the de­bate of the na­tional bud­get. It is worth point­ing out that had that been on the cards, this would have meant that users would have been look­ing at some­thing closer to 30 per cent in­crease on elec­tric­ity.

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