Troubled consumers will now have to wait until the New Year to hear about what is likely to be a significant tariff increase.
Energy regulator Nersa has been relieved of the pressure to set Eskom’s tariffs for 2024/25 – it now has until January 12 to do so.
The High Court in Pretoria had previously ordered Nersa to make a decision “on or before December 24, 2022”.
It was not clear on Tuesday whether the utility would publish its long-overdue financial results for 2021/22 before Christmas.
Asked about reports that Eskom will hold its annual general meeting on Friday (December 23) followed by a media and stakeholder briefing, Calib Cassim, the group’s CFO, said it has yet to be confirmed.
Eskom adjusted its 2020/21 results after appointing new auditors, increasing its loss by 38% to more than R25 billion. It missed the end-September statutory deadline to submit its results for the year ended March 31, 2021, as well as the self-imposed extended deadline of November 30.
This has been extended to December 30, but Cassim previously told Moneyweb he hopes to complete it before Christmas.
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Eskom COO Jan Oberholzer has revealed that Eskom has already spent twice its revised diesel budget to keep the lights on and this is likely to weigh heavily on the figures to be announced.
Eskom has requested a 32% tariff increase for 2023/24 and another around 10% in the following year.
Included in that amount is a court-ordered restitution of part of the R15 billion over three years of the R69 billion that Nersa had previously wrongfully deducted from Eskom’s allowable earnings, in lieu of a government capital injection of the same amount. It also included R1.7 billion, which is part of a clawback under the Regulatory Clearing Account (RCA) mechanism designed to mitigate risk to Eskom and customers should the assumptions underlying the revenue decision turn out to be in reality develop differently.
Moneyweb previously reported that although the court order was for only one year, Nersa decided to deal with Eskom’s revenue allocation for both 2023/24 and the following year at once.
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Its electricity sub-committee gave the energy regulator a recommendation in late November for an amount that, according to discussion at an open meeting, differs little from what Eskom has called for on primary energy, international purchasing, the green levy and the carbon tax. as well as research and development.
Although the figures were not disclosed, it was clear that the permit included a greatly increased provision for diesel for four of Eskom’s open-cycle gas turbines.
It was clear that officials were unable to significantly limit the revenue and subsequent tariff increase as they had to comply with several adverse court rulings in which Eskom successfully challenged Nersa’s tariff rules.
The regulator was expected to make a decision based on the recommendation at that point, but the item was dropped from its agenda.
On December 14, 14, the subcommittee and officials held a workshop but were unable to draft a new recommendation that incorporated the guidance provided by regulator members. They asked for more time, which was granted – although full-time Electricity Regulatory Member Nhlanhla Gumede warned everyone the December 24 court deadline must be met.
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However, Nersa asked the court for an extension, which was granted on Tuesday (December 20) with just four days’ notice.
Eskom did not object to the request to complete the decision by January 12, and a court order was issued.
Just after 6 p.m. Tuesday evening, Eskom announced that it would return to Stage 6 of load shedding after returning to Stage 5 in the morning.
“The failure of 6 generating units during the day has necessitated the escalation in the load shedding phase,” Eskom spokesman Sikonathi Manthsantsha said in a voice memo. It should be reduced to level 4 at 05:00 on Wednesday.
This article originally appeared on Moneyweb and has been republished with permission. Read the original article here.