The Competition Tribunal has interdicted Sasol from increasing its gas prices for the next six months, unless it gets a nod from the energy regulator, pending the conclusion of a probe into excessive pricing, reports Fin24.

Sasol has already agreed to not implement a price increase that sparked an outcry from major industrial users, pending further discussions with the National Energy Regulator of SA (Nersa). 

The chemicals and energy giant is also challenging the jurisdiction of the competition authorities in the matter, with its application being reviewed by the Competition Appeal Court.

The tribunal yesterday announced in a statement it had granted an interim relief application brought by the Industrial Gas Users’ Association of Southern Africa (IGUA-SA), preventing Sasol Gas from increasing the price of piped natural gas above R68.39 per gigajoule.

IGUA-SA had lodged a complaint with the Competition Commission alleging that Sasol is abusing its dominant position in the market by charging an excessive price for gas to the detriment of consumers and customers.

The industrial users thereafter approached the tribunal for interim relief.

In proceedings before the tribunal, Sasol Gas has argued that it is beyond the power of the competition authorities to determine it engaged in excessive pricing, further arguing that its pricing fell within a range determined by Nersa.

The tribunal has, however, concluded that the Competition Act and the Gas Act create a system of concurrent jurisdiction, and that IGUA-SA had shown prima facie that an increase to Sasol Gas’ price for natural gas would result in an excessive price.

Full Fin24 report