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    Ramaphosa Urges Power Utility Eskom to Delay Record Price Hike

    January 23, 2023 - Jerry Chifamba


      Barely a week after he claimed he could not intervene in the National Energy Regulator of South Africa's (Nersa) "statutory process", President Cyril Ramaphosa seems to have changed his tune. Now Ramaphosa has appealed to the board of Eskom to suspend its biggest electricity price increase in more than a decade as the nation faces two more years of rolling blackouts, reports Techcentral.

      In his closing address at the African National Congress's Free State provincial conference in Mangaung on January 22, Ramaphosa said he had approached Eskom about the increase after the power utility said the country could face two years of persistent blackouts as it overhauls its ageing power stations. Back-to-back talks with Ramaphosa have been held to discuss the nation's energy issue, which is getting out of hand due to frequent blackouts.

      "I have said to Eskom it will be an injury to our people if we implement this 18% increase now when we are going through load shedding," he said, adding that he had asked Eskom to suspend it. "So Eskom is going to consider that."

      South Africa is experiencing an energy crisis, with Eskom implementing blackouts for more than 200 days in 2022 and every day in 2023 so far, according to Morne Malan, the head of communications at Solidarity, a union with 6,000 members at Eskom, The rolling outages are apparently required to keep the grid from collapsing if the company's ageing, mostly coal-fired plants are unable to meet demand.

      As capacity constraints persist, the electricity supplier has urged South Africans to use electricity sparingly. "Eskom requests the public to reduce to the usage of electricity and to exercise patience and tolerance during this difficult period. Load shedding is implemented only as a last resort in view of the shortage of generating capacity and the need to attend to breakdowns," the power utility said.


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