An Archdiocese of Durban official has called Eskom's latest electricity tariff hike request "sinful".
"There are millions lost every year because of the poor management of this organisation. It would be sinful to hike electricity prices," spokesperson Enoch Lewis said during a presentation to Nersa officials in Durban on Thursday.
The National Energy Regulator of SA was holding public hearings into Eskom's request for a 16% tariff hike, to recoup R22.8bn in costs.
Public hearings had already taken place in Port Elizabeth and Cape Town.
Eskom has assured the country that the lights will stay on, even if Nersa turns down its application.
Lewis called on Nersa not to grant Eskom any price hikes until it had undergone restructuring. He said it had a number of management issues.
"Yes we know there are a number of challenges that Eskom deals with. Even the poor are tampering with electricity and we do not condone this, but we also understand where this is coming from."
Lewis said pensioners were already suffering and the tariff hike would mean food prices would increase.
"This will most certainly raise the price of food, and for us as an organisation that assists the needy and the elderly, this is an issue. To us, the affordability for the poor and the old is already at such a difficult point. If these were raised any more it would be detrimental."
Nersa cancelled the public hearings in Mpumalanga, the Free State, and Limpopo due to a lack of interest.