Electricity tariffs Eskom

Don’t hurt farmers with higher electricity tariffs, says Agri Western Cape

Don’t hurt farmers with higher electricity tariffs, says Agri Western Cape <www.engineeringnews.co.za/article/dont-hurt-farmers-with-higher-electricity-tariffs-says-agri-western-cape-2019-01-15>
15TH JANUARY 2019
BY: KIM CLOETE <www.engineeringnews.co.za/author.php?u_id=1132> CREAMER MEDIA CORRESPONDENT
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Sharp electricity <www.engineeringnews.co.za/topic/electricity> tariff hikes would have a major detrimental effect on the agricultural sector, Agri <www.engineeringnews.co.za/topic/agri> Western Cape has said during public hearings into electricity <www.engineeringnews.co.za/topic/electricity> tariffs.
In its submission to the National Energy <www.engineeringnews.co.za/topic/energy> Regulator of South Africa <www.engineeringnews.co.za/topic/south-africa> (Nersa), Agri <www.engineeringnews.co.za/topic/agri> SA said high increases in electricity <www.engineeringnews.co.za/topic/electricity> costs would be a threat to food security <www.engineeringnews.co.za/topic/security> and have a major negative impact on agricultural sustainability and economic survival. ADVERTISEMENT <www.engineeringnews.co.za/adcentre/rv/en/www/delivery/ck.php?oaparams=2__bannerid=3066__zoneid=420__cb=96b1141616__oadest=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.airliquide.co.za>
“The current climatic conditions, rising input costs and the exchange rate have had a severe impact on agriculture <www.engineeringnews.co.za/topic/agriculture>. Sharp increases in electricity <www.engineeringnews.co.za/topic/electricity> costs would put agricultural cash flow <www.engineeringnews.co.za/topic/flow-company>under pressure,” said *Carl Braam Opperman <www.engineeringnews.co.za/topic/carl-braam-opperman>* on behalf of Agri <www.engineeringnews.co.za/topic/agri> Western Cape.
The organisation represents 4 000 producers in the Western Cape. The province employs 20% of the national agricultural workforce, said Opperman. ADVERTISEMENT <www.engineeringnews.co.za/adcentre/rv/en/www/delivery/ck.php?oaparams=2__bannerid=4749__zoneid=647__cb=885bd38996__oadest=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.gges.co.za>
He said the agricultural sector could not afford further electricity <www.engineeringnews.co.za/topic/electricity> tariff hikes. It would weaken profitability further and hurt exports. It would also push farmers to introduce alternatives.
“Being hit with a double digit increase in electricity <www.engineeringnews.co.za/topic/electricity> would force the industry to develop more cost-effective forms of power <www.engineeringnews.co.za/topic/power> supply to take them off the grid.”
He said farmers and those involved in agroprocessing had already had to deal with load-shedding and were in a tenuous position.
“We have a constant fear of load-shedding during the agricultural production season.
“Remember the agricultural sector does not have the luxury to make good on revenue losses,” he added.
Opperman called on the Department of Energy <www.engineeringnews.co.za/topic/energy>, Parliament and Cabinet to intervene on electricity <www.engineeringnews.co.za/topic/electricity> prices.
“Consumers and business <www.engineeringnews.co.za/topic/business> fund Eskom <www.engineeringnews.co.za/topic/eskom> through our taxes. Now we may be expected to fund Eskom <www.engineeringnews.co.za/topic/eskom> through increased tariffs, which are not affordable. Eskom <www.engineeringnews.co.za/topic/eskom> should not be allowed to transfer the cost of its mismanagement to the consumer.”
Opperman said Eskom <www.engineeringnews.co.za/topic/eskom> had “managed itself into a debt spiral” and that the current situation was not sustainable <www.engineeringnews.co.za/topic/sustainable>.
Agri <www.engineeringnews.co.za/topic/agri> Western Cape has recommended that a new model be built. It suggests that portions of Eskom <www.engineeringnews.co.za/topic/eskom> should be sold off to create a public–private partnership and that Eskom <www.engineeringnews.co.za/topic/eskom>’s “monopolistic hold” should be terminated.
The organisation also said Eskom <www.engineeringnews.co.za/topic/eskom> should be more lenient towards independent power <www.engineeringnews.co.za/topic/power> producers instead of “punishing” farms with more favourable costs for channelling electricity <www.engineeringnews.co.za/topic/electricity>to the grid.
EDITED BY: CREAMER MEDIA REPORTER

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