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Wednesday May 08, 2013

Durban electricity price rise 'reduced'

Financially overburdened Durban residents can breathe a sigh of relief as they might only have to cough up 5.5 percent more for electricity from July.

The eThekwini Municipality had warned consumers that its electricity price increase in July would be more than the 8 percent Eskom would be allowed to charge.

However, municipal electricity head Sandile Maphumulo yesterday told councillors that the city was expecting lower electricity tariff hikes from Eskom than the 8 percent that had been mooted.

"This translates to an overall increase of 5.5 percent to our customers. We are trying to cushion the burden," he said.

Even big business could expect to pay about 2 percent less than had been mooted, said Maphumulo.

In the 2013/14 financial year, the city will spend close to R7 billion on buying electricity from Eskom.

The proposed tariff hikes still need to be approved by the council and the National Energy Regulator.

Other increases proposed by the city's draft budget were 6.9 percent for property rates, and water costs would rise by 9.5 percent for homes and 12.5 percent for business premises. Refuse removal and sanitation costs were also set to go up by 6.9 percent.

Lilian Develing of the Combined Ratepayers' Association welcomed the proposed lower electricity increase. "Every bit helps. It'll be a cold winter because we have been advised to use less electricity but everything helps," she said.

The Mercury

 
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