Whilst public hearings that could see electricity tariffs raised by 17 per cent are taking place, the African continent’s largest electricity producer, Eskom, hosted members of the at its Research, Testing and Development Centre in Johannesburg.
The General Manager of the centre, Barry MacColl, says the power utility is researching ways of producing cheaper electricity.
“Things like PV (solar energy) and wind are free. The production of energy is not driven by the commodity price but rather by the capital cost and the maintenance cost,” says MacColl.
MacColl says Eskom is also looking at creating an electricity app that will operate like ‘Uber’. The app will allow people to buy electricity from each other in the future.
With the National Energy Regulator (NERSA) currently conducting public hearings that could see electricity tariffs raised by 17 per cent, Eskom’s spokesperson, Khulu Phasiwe, hopes the regulator will rule in Eskom’s favour.
Phasiwe says even though he is aware that the tariff increase will “put inflationary pressure in an already struggling economy,” Eskom needs $138.6 million to avoid load shedding.
“What has to be understood is that when we have load shedding, the economy loses R100 billion ($607.9 million) a day, according to economists,” he adds.
“So it’s a question of weighing between a small adjustment of about 17 per cent or having a loss of about R100 billion a day.”