Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown has defended Eskom’s bid to hike electricity tariffs, saying the power utility’s average price is still quite competitive internationally and would still be so even after the requested increases. Eskom has faced severe criticism for its intention to increase its tariffs, with business chambers and various lobby groups vowing to fight the proposed hikes, which they deem "unreasonable". If approved, they will be "commercially devastating in the current economic climate", the groups said. Eskom is looking for a 19.9% increase in tariffs, which means consumers could end up paying up to 27.5% more in 2018. The National Energy Regulator of SA is holding public hearings on the proposed tariff hikes. Eskom has applied for total allowable revenue of R219.5bn, which translates to a 19.9% average tariff increase. In response to a question in Parliament from Congress of the People MP Willie Madisha on Monday, Brown wrote that at an average of 85c/kWh, inc...

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