South Africa‘s energy regulator Nersa on Thursday granted struggling state power firm Eskom average power price increases that were far below what the utility had asked for, saying it aimed to balance the interests of the company and the public.
Nersa decides every few years how much revenue cash-strapped Eskom is allowed to earn from its customers via electricity tariffs, based on forecasts of its power sales and costs.
Nersa said Eskom could hike tariffs by 9.41% in the 2019/20 financial year, 8.10% in 2020/21 and 5.22% in 2021/22.
Those tariff increases do not include previous awards Nersa gave Eskom last year, for costs incurred over 2014/15, 2015/16 and 2016/17, which will be recovered over a four-year period.
Eskom wanted power price increases of 17.1%, 15.4% and 15.5% over the next three years in its latest multi-year price determination application submitted last year.
On Thursday Nersa also allowed Eskom to recover R3.869 billion ($270 million) from its customers for electricity supplied in the 2017/18 financial year, significantly below the R21.6 billion that Eskom had applied for.
Nersa typically awards Eskom less than it asks for, as it only allows the company to recover costs which it deems prudently incurred.
Eskom supplies more than 90% of the power in Africa‘s most industrialised economy. But it is grappling with breakdowns at its creaking coal-fired power station fleet which forced it to implement some of the worst power outages in several years last month.
The government has promised to inject R23 billion a year into Eskom over the next three years to help the utility meet repayments on its R420 billion debt burden.
Dollar-denominated bonds issued by Eskom rallied on Thursday after Nersa granted the utility an increase in tariffs.
The 2028 issue jumped 2.5 cents to 108 cents in the dollar while the 2025 bond added 1.4 cents to trade at 101.25 cents, according to data from Refinitiv.