Tshwane tariff fight heads to court

AfriForum endeavours to stop the charging of unlawful tariffs by the city.
The city maintains that the increase is within Nersa's guidelines but the energy regulator is looking at possible actions against Tshwane for premature implementation. Picture: Moneyweb

The City of Tshwane and national energy regulator Nersa were served with court papers by AfriForum in an effort to stop the city’s unlawful implementation of increased electricity tariffs.

Nersa refused to approve Tshwane’s tariffs for 2019/20 on Friday after AfriForum and the Electricity Resellers’ Association of South Africa (Erasa) approached it regarding serious concerns about the impact of structural changes in the tariff on specific consumers.

The city nevertheless implemented the proposed tariffs in contravention of the Electricity Regulation Act. Mayoral committee member (MMC) for utility services Abel Tau maintains that the city council is the executive authority and since it approved the tariffs, the city can proceed with implementation.

According to Tau, the city’s proposed tariff increase is within the Nersa guideline of 13.07%.

AfriForum is now bringing an urgent application to the High Court in Pretoria to stop the charging of the set of tariffs. It will be asking for the court to order the city to revert to the tariffs Nersa approved for 2018/19, until the regulator has approved Tshwane’s current application.

Jaco Grobbelaar, AfriForum coordinator for the greater Pretoria region, says neither the city nor Nersa has responded to the letters of demand the organisation served on them and that AfriForum has no other choice but to litigate. It hopes to argue the application on Tuesday.

In the meantime, Nersa has published an advertisement for public hearings about the proposed tariffs that will take place on July 11. At this occasion, the city is expected to present its reasons for the structural changes.

Nersa is also looking into the actions it could take against Tshwane for the premature implementation of the tariffs, but has not yet decided on a course of action, according to a senior official.

Among the things that concerned Nersa regulator members when they first considered Tshwane’s application was the fact that the city put a new fixed monthly charge for residential users on the table for public comment during its budget process. The approved budget and provincial gazette, however, reflected a fixed monthly charge of R200, while the application submitted to Nersa on July 10 asked for R120.

Tshwane MMC for finance Mare-Lize Fourie admitted to Moneyweb editor Ryk van Niekerk that increasing this charge from R56 was a mistake and the city had no idea how it had happened.

ANC chairperson Kgosi Maepa said at a press briefing on Thursday that the Tshwane multi-party caucus was told it was “a typo”. The ANC called for Tshwane city manager Moeketsi Mosola to be suspended or step down.

At a council meeting on June 27 the proposed tariffs were amended to reflect the R56 charge. Another amendment was to reduce a fixed charge for rural and agricultural land from R650 to R210 per month.

The city seemingly missed the R200 for residential consumers supplied by electricity resellers and did not change that back to R56. It also did not address Erasa’s concern about the increase of up to 400% in bulk tariffs at which they buy electricity from the city.

This, Erasa says, would destroy the business case of the industry that facilitates electricity supply to about 150 000 households in Tshwane.

It is not clear whether the city will refund consumers who have been charged unlawful tariffs, should AfriForum’s application succeed.

It is also unclear how the city will get around provisions of the Municipal Finance Management Act (MFMA) that preclude municipalities from increasing tariffs except at the beginning of the financial year on July 1, should Nersa eventually approve the proposed tariffs.

The Tshwane Money Matters Caucus has in fact appealed to Gauteng MEC for Cooperative Governance, Traditional Affairs and Human Settlements Lebogang Maile to place the city under administration. The absence of Nersa approval means the city lacks a revenue raising mechanism for its approved budget.

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They have no concept of adhering to laws, of budgeting according to income and implementation strategies. And this is the DA nogal.

Seems we could just have voted ANC, little difference it seems.

It’s actually even worse than voting for the ANC – those who made the mistake of voting for the DA, were really voting for the EFF. And if you thought VBS was bad, go and Google “Glad Africa Tshwane EFF.” Six times worse than the VBS robbery.

Well done, DA voters. Really well done. Electing the incompetent DA – which actively despises its white voters to boot – and its corrupt EFF bedfellows. Next time you’ll know better, eh?

DA = ANC Lite

A vote for them is a vote for the EFF, as they have no qualms about grabbing power with all means available, and take the ratepayers for a ride.

The sooner people realise the true nature of the DA, the better. They no longer represent us.

It might be an interesting article from Moneyweb to compare the municipal tariffs for a few cities. There are too many tariffs to make sense of, but say the fixed and variable electricity fees for
20A residential single phase
60A residential single phase
60A residential three phase
60A commercial
250A commercial
1000 kVA bulk medium voltage
5000 kVA bulk high voltage

Definitely a need to compare tariffs of different cities to those of Pretoria / Tshwane.

No surprise Nersa “has not yet decided on the course of action.” Rather late than never – typical government regulator, inept.
Good luck to Afri-Forum in court on Tuesday, the only organisation looking after the poor and middle-class of Pretoria. They deserve a huge round of applause (and donation) from all (even though I don’t agree with their sentiment about the old SA flag.)

Here in our lovely town of Klerksdorp (no sorry, “City of Matlosana”…we’re proudly ANC run 😉 we have the following implemented on our municipal bills the past 2 years:

Residences are charged a R127pm “electricity connection levy” (originally implemented at R100pm taking into account inflation increases the past few years) over-and-above your elec consumption.

This is irrespective if one is on Pre-Paid meter (like me) or not…you still get the R127pm “electricity” billed to you (i.e. in addition to the elec paid to the pre-paid provider).

Tshwane residents complain about a teeny R56pm…while us Klerksdorpers as a poorer rural community pays R127pm…and not a complaint seen in our local newspaper. WTF?

Not only that…some years ago, when most munis (in Gauteng & elsewhere) still enjoyed a 6,000KL free water p.m…..ours was taken away some years ago….so we pay from the 1st kiloliter. Yet, no-one in Klerksdorp complains.

I’ve come to the conclusion that Matlosana City does NOT fall under the Electricity Regulation Act of SA(?) We seem to be a country on our own, but run by the (desperate) ruling political party.

Since we don’t complain, I’m going to propose to our council to consider a new “movers and shakers” tax….you’ll get charged for each and every seismic tremor (mine-related “bump”) common in our region…

…”This is irrespective if one is on Pre-Paid meter (like me) or not…you still get the R127pm “electricity” billed to you (i.e. in addition to the elec paid to the pre-paid provider)”

All you need is to have to sit in 2 hours of traffic every day to and from work, and you would feel as if you were living in Cape Town, as the proudly DA municipality do just that…charge a monthly R100+ electrical connection fee (escalating at 2x inflation every year).

Plus they charge a R150+ monthly water connection fee, based on your feed pipe diameter. Ditto with annual escalation

Plus they took away the free 6kl/month water benefit. And they charge Level-3 water restriction tariffs on a permanent basis, since coyly renaming Level 3 to Level 1 in July this year.

Plus their property valuations for this cycle have escalated between 30 and 200%…

The DA council salary bill needs to be kept well topped up, with senior level DA managers receiving cushy R3Million+ annual salaries…

@rfjock. Yes, you may have a valid point…the DA seems to find inventive ways to charge my Cape compatriots.

In that case, I WANT the DA in control of our own town….so that we can PAY MORE! *lol*

The main question is, WHAT do Capetonians RECEIVE IN RETURN for their municipal levies? (Compared to ANC-controlled towns)

Klerksdorp’s roads are as bumpy and broken as hell (the suspension & shock-absorber businesses are doing well here). The WC’s roadsurfaces are (generally) as smooth as a mirror. A Ferrari owner can actually drive there (AND enjoy it) 😉

What else? Our muni misses many days picking up (or late) the refuse removal due to lack of trucks (either broken trucks or trucks that are impounded by workshop, and release it after council pays)

Sewerage water running occasionally down the odd street….for days/weeks on end. You won’t find that situation in the WC!

Road markings are actually painted in WC. Not so in ANC small-towns. Durbanville (e.g.) the CBD is clean. Their taxi-rank is more spick ‘n span than Klerksdorp’s upmarket business nodes.

Heck, in the Cape residencents even receive a free municipal plastic bag following refuse collection! (friggen, what country is that?!)

I agree…Cape residents pays a LOT. But they get a HELL of a LOT MORE back FOR THEIR MONEY.

In ANC-run towns you get MUCH LESS in return for your rates. Makes sense?

Sorry bro, DA WINS IT for me when I compare “cost versus benefit”. Why do you think there’s the pillocks’ semi-gration to the WC despite ongoing water-restrictions? It’s to flee the (effects of) the ANC.

The WC is amazing (for me as a visitor at least). Services are WORKING. The most amazing thing is there’s NO PASSPORT CONTROL between the WC and rest of upcountry, and while its (like) traveling to a different country altogether. Wonder what caused such a difference??

MichaelfromKlerksdorp, there are other articles currently in the news where the whole city of Johannesburg only have 6 working fire engines, 34 in for repairs and the rest scrapped. DA government has had 2 years and 3 months to get something as critical and easy as that better into shape, but they couldn’t, so don’t expect too much.

I live in vandrbijlpark under anc, the whole situation is a mess, meanwhile meyerton in midvaal under DA less than ten minutes drive to vanderbijlaprk is like a europe in south africa
i have to take my children for swimming lesseon at meyerton municipal swimming pool

MichaelfromKlerksdorp, you forgot the MOST important thing about CapeTown…we don’t have e-Tolls! Our DA metro is by no means perfect (they leave street lights on in the day all the time, and outside lights at their libraries and premises,) but after having lived in Pretoria and paying toll fees even between some suburbs, we really have the DA to thank for keeping e-Tolls out of the province and cities.

End of comments.

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