New power deal for Bay businesses

Win-win development for Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality, high energy-using industry and business in the region

Peak-period electricity charges and their timing have been significantly revised in what has been described as a “win-win ” development for the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality, high energy-using industry and business in the region.

The new energy regime for this group of major electricity consumers – described as a pilot initiative – comes into effect tomorrow and will be in force until the end of August.

The changes are not expected to have any impact on residential power supply or tariffs. From tomorrow until the end of August, time-of-use consumers will only pay peak tariffs for four hours a day instead of the usual five.

The peak winter tariffs in the 2017/18 financial year were R3.56 per kilowatt-hour for medium businesses and R3.24 for large businesses, compared with a standard tariff of R1.14 and R1.04 respectively.

The metro’s senior director for planning and projects in the electricity and energy directorate, Peter Neilson, said the morning peak period of 6am to 8am would fall away during the pilot phase.

The evening peak period would run from 5pm to 9pm, where it was from 6pm. “If industry is paying three times more than the standard tariff [as they would in winter peak times], they switch off in the morning and evening,” Neilson said.

“You can imagine how much disruption there is in switching off twice a day. “We think we’ll be able to improve our economic development, sell more electricity and make a more attractive tariff for Eskom – and also for our industries – by not having the morning peak period.”

Neilson said the metro had been working for weeks with the Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chamber, Eskom and Nersa to agree on the pilot project, which could bring an estimated benefit of up to R150-million for the metro through increased electricity sales, and higher efficiency for businesses.

High energy user group spokesman Dave Mertens said: “This is a far more palatable structure for industry.”