The National Energy Regulator of SA’s (Nersa) decision to approve three Eskom tariff hikes over the next three years has raised the ire of civil society and energy activists. According to a Cape Argus report, last week Nersa approved a hike of 9.42% for 2019, 8.1% for 2020, and 5.22% for 2021. Eskom earlier sought increases of 17.1% for 2019/20, 15.4% for 2020/21 and 15.5% for 2021/22. Nersa chair Jacob Modise said the decision to grant the price hikes was in the interest of both Eskom and the public, in line with the Electricity Regulation Act. Economist Dawie Roodt said: ‘The bitter irony is that this increase, together with the other increases approved for the next three years, is not going to be anywhere near enough to save an Eskom that is broken and bankrupt.’ Roodt said the only solution was for the government to assume Eskom’s R420bn debt, fire 30 000 employees, reduce salaries across the board and start from scratch. Cape Chamber of Commerce president Janine Myburgh said: ‘We are still looking at three years of above-inflation increases with the bitter knowledge that every time we pay for electricity, we are paying for corruption and incompetent management.’ Cosatu condemned the tariff increase. ‘Workers and their families are already reeling from an increase in fuel, food and other basic necessities. South African consumers can’t afford this tariff increase, and more families will be plunged deeper into debt and poverty. It is also bad because municipalities will still add their own surcharge on top of this,’ spokesperson Sizwe Pamla said.