PRETORIA, The National Energy Regulator of South Africa (Nersa) says it will announce its decision on an application for a tariff hike by power utility Eskom next week.

The regulator was due to announce its decision with regards to the request on Thursday but postponed the announcement to give itself more time to conduct a thorough analysis of the application.

Eskom is asking Nersa for a 19.9 per cent average increase in electricity tariffs for 2018/19 which will result in total allowable revenue of 219.5 billion Rand (about 16.24 billion US dollars).

Nersa announced Monday that the decision on Eskom’s revenue application for the 2018/19 financial year will be made on Dec 13, 2017. Nersa initially planned to make the decision on Dec 7, 2017.

The date has been changed due to more time being required to conduct a thorough analysis of Eskom’s application and to take stakeholders’ input received during public hearings and from written submissions into consideration, said Nersa on Monday.

Last month, Nersa extended public hearings into Eskom’s revenue application in Gauteng Province in view of the large number of registrants to present views at the hearing. The nationwide public hearings, which got underway on Oct 30, were due to conclude in Gauteng on Nov 17 but were extended to Nov 20.

Speaking at the last day of the hearings held in Midrand, Eskom Interim Group Chief Executive Sean Maritz said the utility had adopted a five-path plan to rebuild a robust governance process at the utility, which includes strengthening general internal ethics and fraud framework.

At the time, Eskom said the regulator’s public hearings had offered it an opportunity to share the merits of its one-year tariff application from April 2018 to March 2019.

Maritz said during the process, Eskom had shared an honest representation of its business as well as what it would require to remain on a firm operational footing.

The fulfilment of these requirements will enable us to deliver on our primary mandate of providing electricity in an efficient and sustainable manner while we continue to play an important role in sustaining the economy of South Africa, said Maritz.

In February, Nersa allowed Eskom to raise tariffs by 2.2 per cent in the 2017/18 financial year.