Natasha Mazzone, left, and Mmusi Maimane. Picture: TREVOR SAMSON
Natasha Mazzone, left, and Mmusi Maimane. Picture: TREVOR SAMSON

The DA has picketed outside the National Energy Regulator of SA's (Nersa's) public hearings on an electricity tariff increase for Eskom in Soweto on Friday.

The party handed in a submission opposing Eskom’s request for an increase of 15% per year over the next three years.

“The cost of living for the poor will be unbearable should this proposed electricity price hike proceed,” DA MPs Natasha Mazzone said.

“On top of this, small businesses will suffer as input costs will soar through these electricity price increases, putting pressure on their profitability and sustainability. This could have a severe impact on businesses’ ability to retain let alone create jobs.

"What Eskom needs is a complete overhaul. The DA has led the charge on a way to fix Eskom over the last year instead of applying for massive tariff hikes.”

She said the DA had developed an amended Independent System Market Operator Bill (ISMO) which sought to break Eskom into two separate entities, namely generation and transmission.

“The Ramaphosa administration, which is devoid of its own vision has only now started to debate this approach,” Mazzone said.

The expert task team appointed by Ramaphosa has recommended that Eskom be broken into two state-owned companies: a generation company that would run Eskom's power stations, and a transmission company that would own and operate the national grid. Ramaphosa is expected to make an announcement in this regard in his state of the nation address on Thursday.

Mazzone said the DA's proposal would see some of the generation entity privatised in an effort to break Eskom’s monopoly, allowing private entities to compete on an equal footing.

“It will also allow well-functioning metros to apply to enter into agreements with electricity generators directly, giving them scope to choose who supplies them with electricity and reduce the risk of load shedding.”