Johannesburg - The Congress of SA Trade Unions on Thursday cautiously welcomed the National Energy Regulator of SA's (Nersa) decision to give Eskom an 8% tariff increase.
Although there would be even smaller increases for the poorest energy consumers, the 8% hike was still above the union's proposed 5.4%, spokesperson Patrick Craven said.
"It still amounts to a rise in the cost of living and could still jeopardise jobs in struggling companies.
"We will also have to check what percentages municipalities are going to add on to the 8%, which is likely to mean many thousands of consumers paying well above that amount."
Craven said that Nersa's decision to halve the asked-for increase was most likely due to campaigns conducted by the union federation and other organisations.
Eskom said the hike of 8% each year over the next five years would present difficulties.
"We will now be looking at how we can meet this challenge," spokesperson Hillary Joffe said.
Had Eskom been granted the 16% hike, the current electricity price would have more than doubled, from 61 cents a kilowatt hour in 2012/13, to 128 cents a kWh in 2017/18.
Nersa's decision meant electricity would cost around 89 cents a kilowatt hour by 2018.