Johannesburg - The National Energy Regulator of SA (Nersa) started holding public hearings in Midrand on Wednesday on Eskom's request for a 16% electricity price increase for each of the next five years.
Eskom estimates it will need R1.1 trillion for its infrastructure maintenance, staff cost and growth.
A small group of protesters gathered outside with placards, some of which read "RIP Eskom".
The hearings are chaired by Thembani Bukula and are being held to gather views on Eskom's multi-year price determination (MYPD3) application.
The proposed increase will more than double the price of electricity over five years, taking it from 61 cents a kilowatt hour in 2012/13, to 128 cents a kWh in 2017/18.
Eskom finance director Paul O'Flaherty said it needed the increase to maintain revenue and cover operating costs.
He said that if Eskom merely minimised operating costs, as had been suggested, the servicing of machinery would be neglected and there would have to be massive staff reductions.
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