The CSIR has released figures outlining how electricity tariffs have changed from 1970 to today, highlighting just how drastic Eskom’s tariff increases have been since load-shedding began.
From 2007 to 2017, tariffs increased by 333%, with this percentage expected to rise to 490% by 2021.
Load-shedding began back in 2007 due to what Eskom deemed “a steady growth in the demand for electricity because of robust economic growth”.
However, the incompetency at Eskom is easy to see and is a significant factor behind the existence of load-shedding.
Energy expert Ted Blom has referred to Eskom’s leaders as “a bunch of amateurs” and believes that Eskom has fallen into disarray.
Meanwhile, fellow expert Chris Yelland has warned that Eskom is suffering from several issues, including multiple unplanned breakdowns.
Eskom is broke
Compounding matters is that Eskom “is technically bankrupt”.
In its interim financial results presentation for 2018/19, Eskom admitted that it was R419 billion in debt.
As a result, the government has issued a R69-billion bailout to Eskom to help the embattled energy provider make ends meet.
However, Eskom still remains heavily in debt and has been labeled by former Minister of Finance Nhlanhla Nene as the single biggest risk to the South African economy.
Eskom has not always been in this position, though. In fact, it was once one of the most respected energy producers in the world.
By the end of 1990, Eskom was providing Africa with over half of its electricity requirements.
However, under ANC governance and particularly under former president Jacob Zuma, Eskom has become a shadow of its former self – and it now sells less energy than it did in 2018.
Eskom has pushed aggressively to increase energy tariffs over the past few years in a bid to generate much-needed income.
This has hurt the pockets of the South African public, who have had to spend exponentially more of their earnings on electricity and backup power solutions.
The graph below, from the CSIR, shows how much electricity prices have increased by since 1970.