Cape Town Domestic Electricity 2016 -new service fee

The City of Cape Town’s 2016/17 electricity tariffs increased on 1 July by 7.78%. This is a heavy burden on top of the fuel and food price hikes hitting consumers as a result of the weak rand and drought inflated food costs.  It is however consistent with the National Energy Regulator’s ( NERSA’s) approval of the price municipalities have to pay ESKOM. While this new electricity price hike seems unavoidable, it is not the whole story.

The 2016/17 Cape Town residential electricity tariffs include a new residential tariff – the Home User – which includes a separate monthly service fee.  This fee is R242.73 per month irrespective of how much electricity you use.  Energy efficient and single person households will pay the same service fee as energy hungry homes.   Do you think this is fair?  This tariff is likely to replace the current domestic tariff  for people who own property in the future and will not impact on lifeline consumers.  Have a look at the residential tariff table below which compares last and this year’s tariffs. These tariffs do not apply to areas supplied by ESKOM.

Electricity tariffs for the 2016/17 financial year in the City of Cape Town.

Tariff Blocks No of Units 2015/16 incl VAT 2016/17 incl VAT Increase per kWh
Lifeline Block 1 (60 kWhs free electricity) 0 – 350kWhs 103,81 (R1.03)

 

110.68 (R1.11) 8  cents
  Block 2 (25 kWhs free electricity) 350 + 287,42 (R2.87) 306,44 (R3.06) 19* cents
* Lifeline provides a subsidy for basic electricity to lower income households.  The more electricity consumed over 350kWhs, the lower the subsidy.  Consumers over 450kWhs per month do not get free basic electricity.

NB:  Lifeline customers on pre-paid meters whose property is valued at over 1 million will be shifted to the Domestic tariff as of 1 October 2016.  These households do not qualify for the government’s Free Basic Electricity subsidy.

Domestic Block 1 600kWhs 175,90 (R1.76) 187,54 (R1.87) 12 cents
  Block 2 600 + 213,90 (R2.14) 228,06 (R2.28) 14 cents
           
Home User** Block 1 600kWhs 0 147,08 (R1.47)  
 Proposed Block 2 600 + 0 228.06 (R2.28)  
Monthly service fee     242,73 (R242.73)  
** Households on Domestic will not be moved to the Home User tariff in 2016 /17.

For detailed explanation of the Lifeline Tariff benefits and beneficiaries go to:

http://greenaudits.co.za/lifeline-electricity-tariff-benefits-who-qualifies/

 

Proposed new Home User tariff

The Home User tariff is a clear demonstration of where Cape Town residential tariffs are heading.  Apparently no households currently on the Domestic tariff will be shifted to the Home User tariff in 2016/17, although it is possible that new homes may be put on the Home User tariff.  Many municipalities have a fixed service charge in addition to their energy charge.  The energy charge is the kWh or unit charge and is essentially determined by the cost of ESKOM electricity while the infrastructure charge is the cost of maintaining the transmission network to our homes.  Cape Town had a service fee in the past embedded in the kWh charge. As households reduce their electricity consumption, so the revenue to maintain the infrastructure and to cross subsidise other city services is being squeezed.

The City’s electricity sales peaked in 2009 (pers comm  Ald. Ian Nielson). The economic downturn has reduced demand while the rapidly rising electricity price has encouraged efficiency and the uptake of alternatives such as solar water heating and PV.  Balancing decreasing revenue with the need to provide electricity to a growing number of households and especially households needing a lifeline subsidy is a significant challenge for the city.

Understanding the context and wanting to live in a functional city, many domestic electricity consumers may accept the principle of a charge for infrastructure.  It is the application that is problematical.  The one size fits all approach will significantly increase the electricity cost to lower consumers of electricity, be they households that have invested in energy efficient behaviour or technology, or homes with single occupants.  The table below shows that households using below 600kWhs (units) will experience the biggest increase in electricity expenditure.  Households using more than 600kWhs per month will experience no difference.

Table 2: Comparison of charges on Domestic and the proposed Home User Tariffs.

Consumption level in kWhs Rand Cost on Domestic Tariff Rand Cost on  Home User incl service fee Cost Difference Percentage Difference
0 0 242,73 242,73
150 281,31 463,35 182,04 64,71%
250 468,85 610,43 141,58 30,20%
300 562,62 683,97 121,35 21,57%
600 1125,24 1125,21 -0,03 0,00%
750 1467,33 1467,3 -0,03 0,00%
900 1809,42 1809,39 -0,03 0,00%
1000 2037,48 2037,45 -0,03 0,00%

The sums in the table beg the question: Is this fair?

It may be tempting to argue that consumers over 600kWhs are paying a higher charge per kWh: namely R2.28 as opposed to R1.47.  This contradicts a cost of service approach which looks at separate infrastructure and energy charges.  It also needs to be seen in the context of:

  • the City’s policy to reduce bulk purchases from Eskom to better manage its expenses and
  • its policies to be an environmentally sustainable city with reduced Climate Change impacts.

One option for an equitable service fee would be service fee tariff blocks rather than the same charge for all. This will ensure that low electricity consumers do not carry a service charge burden out of proportion to their energy consumption.

 How will the proposed Home User tariff be implemented?

City sources have not confirmed how the service charge will be levied.  They favour including it on the rates account as an additional service levy along with the refuse, sewage and water charges.  This places the burden on the property owners in the city who pay rates.  It would be more equitable for every domestic consumer not on Lifeline to contribute to the costs of electricity infrastructure?  City officials explain that in the past the service fee was included in the pre-paid electricity vendor system.  This created confusion and hardship as consumers did not understand that part of their payment was a service charge. As a result they bought electricity but often ended up with less units than expected or none at all because of the outstanding service charges.  Education and pro-active messages on the pre-paid receipts warning about the remaining service charges for the month in question could address this.  Loading ratepayers with the full cost of service fees may be an easy option for the city but it is not a fair one.

The new Home User Tariff  has been approved for the 2016 /17 financial year even though it may not be implemented in full.  It will be back for discussion on the 2017 /18 draft budget in March April 2017. If you are concerned about this proposed new tariff, you need to address your concern to the City Manager on city.manager@capetown.gov.za  within the April / May 2017 comments period.  In the meanwhile lets put our thinking caps on and come up with options that are more equitable but also keep our City functioning.

Kim Kruyshaar July 2016

Home Energy Audit – 20 Questions Efficiency Quiz!

, , ,

59 Responses to Cape Town Domestic Electricity 2016 -new service fee

  1. Dr G A Keen April 19, 2016 at 1:53 pm #

    Thank you Kim for spelling out what the City is intending , effectively a standard fixed monthly fee (attracting VAT ?) for all domestic consumers to cover infrastructure costs . The City categorises the size of a grid connection to a household under the term “Notified Maximum Demand” (NMD) . For example , a small connection might be a single phase 20 Amp connection vs a large connection 3 phase 80 Amps per phase all at 230 Vac . The City undertakes to be able to supply electricity to that specified power to the connection in question . The infrastructure required to bring such a supply is what needs to be maintained and the fees for such maintenance should perhaps be in proportion to the NMD for a particular connection , irrespective of the quantity of energy supplied .
    However , older households all had 3 phase supplies at 60 Amps (one size fits all) as standard , whether they needed it or not , whereas today most newer residential households have a single phase 60 or 80 Amp supply as standard . Would it be fair to charge the older houses more because by default they had a large (standard) NMD fitted ?
    I suspect the increase in electricity revenue is also needed for the profits from electricity sales to be increased for transfer into the rates account (“rates subsidy” is the term used by Ald Ian Neilson) . “Loading ratepayers” is a step closer to calling the fee simply an increase in rates (which are VAT free) . If the City could increase rates revenue in this way , then the pressure to sell electricty to maintain general revenue could be reduced , and rooftop PV could be more freely promoted . That could be a good thing ?

  2. s eggington April 24, 2016 at 6:31 pm #

    I am a pensioner.With electricity costs rocketing over the last 5 years or so.I was forced to spend a considerable sum putting in a solar geyser and led, lights.As a result of this expenditure my monthly electricity bill dropped to about R400 a month.Now I am going to be penalissed for saving money and going greener. This is crazy.and unjust.

    • admin April 25, 2016 at 10:56 am #

      It is a good idea to email city.manager@capetwn.gov.za with your experience and the implications for you of having reduced your demand but now being faced with a one size fits all service fee. An answer that I received was that the infrastructure charges are a basic minimum amount which makes up a lower percentage of the total bill to a large consumer but a high percentage cost to a low electricity consumer. In which case if the low electricity consumer paid a lower infrastructure charge, they would effectively be subsidized by the higher consumer. A new accounting model is required because my feeling is that there are higher infrastructure charges for consumers using more power. And there are definite green economy (job creation, new industry etc) and climate change benefits for the individual and the city in investments in alternatives to Eskom electricity. The rand value of these benefits is not brought into the city electricity accounts system. The City is facing an energy transition with increasing uncertainty about its electricity income. This is exacerbated by red tape at national level that is not freeing up the space for independent and rooftop PV owners to sell electricity to the city. We need to find different ways of accounting to reward green consumers and a new electricity revenue model.

    • Helen Henning November 25, 2016 at 8:42 am #

      We are pensioners earning less that R10 000 per month between us. We live in Fish Hoek so not sure if City of Cape Town or Eskom. We are now on a prepaid meter but we are tenants. Do we qualify for pensioner discounts. We will use less that 350 Kw per month.
      Thank you

      • admin November 28, 2016 at 1:03 pm #

        Hi Fish Hoek is in the city of Cape Town electricity supply area. As tenants you should be able to apply for the pensioners rebate as long as you meet the other criteria including a combined pension of less than R15 000 per month. At the same time that you apply, appeal to the Mayor’s office against the intended additional electricity service fee of R242 per month which the city wishes to impose on property owners from 1 July 2017. Landlords will try to transfer this fee to their tenants. As you use so little electricity, this will be a significant additional electricity cost to you. https://www.capetown.gov.za/en/rev/Pages/ApplicationForms.aspx

  3. Common Sense June 4, 2016 at 5:34 am #

    There are a LOT of people who has low income. Many of them will now face about a doubling in electricity fees. Can I tell Cape Town to come and remove my electricity connection to them, I don’t want it anymore because I cannot afford it. After all I have to eat, not so?

  4. Kurt Europa June 27, 2016 at 7:07 am #

    Could you explain all this information in layman’s terms please? I’m reading this article and re-reading and what is making me not understand is the terms being used. A working class resident, like myself, whom had limited education and not as articulate as your existing readers, struggles with the figures and terms. How am I going to explain this to my neighbours if I can’t understand this vital information that you have researched.

    • admin July 6, 2016 at 11:36 am #

      hi Kurt, Yes, I agree that the issue is complex. If you would you like to ask me a specific question about your electricity payments and how much electricity you typically use each month, I can try and explain it for your context.

  5. Tracey July 24, 2016 at 2:28 pm #

    I am renting a 1 bedroom unit in Sanddrift, Milnerton. The owner of the property built units behind his main house. The electricity is very expensive its 39.9kwh for R100. Every unit has its own meter. So one unit of electricity becomes R2.51. Is that a normal regular price. In one month l buy +-R600 on electricity

    • admin July 25, 2016 at 12:51 pm #

      Hi I am assuming that you are in a City of Cape Town and not an ESKOM area. The City of CT domestic tariff is R1.87 for customers using less that 600kWhs per month and then R2.28 per kWh above 600 per month. You need to ask your landlord for the formula that he / she uses to charge you electricity. The landlord may be on a commercial tariff because of the large amount of power and kWhs that are being consumed by the entire property. This may result in additional charges such as service fees. However, the general policies regarding a landlord reseller of electricity are: they may not make a profit through the selling on of electricity and 2 they should provide the electricity at tariffs not less favourable than what the City of CT would charge for the similar service. So once you know what you are being charged for – service fees, admin fees and kWh fees then you can determine if it is in keeping with the general policies above or not. Hope that helps, Kim

  6. Tracey July 26, 2016 at 11:03 am #

    Thank you Kim l will ask the landlord.

    • Lilly July 27, 2016 at 2:48 pm #

      Hi Tracy

      It seems like your landlord property is still on lifeline. What I find strange with lifeline is that the more you use is the more expensive it becomes. I am on Lifeline Block2 and just this month in a very long time (I guess it’s the cold weather and heater) I had to top-up again from my normal +/-350khW. Oh boy , oh boy – R100 only got me 38.6khW, so I had to top up again, just went and bought for R120 with only got me 39.9khW. The worst ever, so R220 in total still got be less that 80khW worth of electricity. This life is becoming so expensive. How can I move from Lifeline to Demestic prepaid, it seems like you end up getting more for less on Domestic tarrifs.

      • admin July 27, 2016 at 9:46 pm #

        Hi Lilly,If you are averaging just over 350kWhs per month you really don’t want to shift to the Domestic tariff. Look at the math. 400kWhs on Lifeline 2 works out at: 350Whs (at R1.11per kWh) + 50kWhs (at R3.06 per kWh). This adds up to R541,50 and you still get 25kWh free electricity. 400kWhs on Domestic block 1 at R1,87 per kWh will cost R748.

        • aysha October 5, 2016 at 6:45 pm #

          Hi I stay in rondevlei Mitchell’s plain we buy R50 electricity and only receive like 26 units which is ridiculous we use to receive free units every month and now we not we actually depend on that free units every month

      • steve August 12, 2016 at 12:34 pm #

        Here in Australia, electicity can cost like 25 cents a kWh + 10 % GST, and a supply charge of $1.45 a day and gst so power is very expensive here.

  7. jacques August 15, 2016 at 10:28 am #

    Good day,

    I buy pre paid electricity through a EFT to prepaid24, but not even on the invoice can I see how many KWh I bought.

    Is 1 unit on the prepaid display 1 KWh? No where can I find the information on the internet that it is so.

    Thanks in advance.

    • admin August 15, 2016 at 9:47 pm #

      1 unit = 1kWh. Does your invoice show which tariff you are on – it should?

  8. Ray Pickering September 8, 2016 at 1:19 pm #

    We buy our electricity tokens from the local Spar. For a R200 “top up” I pay R24.56 VAT so for R175.44 we only get 112.4 (kWh).
    What other way can we save on energy costs, a generator, solar panels,stick to cold water or what?

    • admin September 8, 2016 at 11:28 pm #

      Solar panels or a heat pump if your roof aspect is not optimal for solar is a good investment. Standard electric geysers account for between 25 – 35% of home electricity consumption. try the http://greenaudits.co.za/home-energy-audit-20-questions-efficiency-quiz/
      The answers will point you to the actions you need to take to reduce your electricity consumption.

  9. Leon Slabbert September 29, 2016 at 5:19 pm #

    I am quite disgusted with the tariff increase as I find that I am now paying a couple of hundred rands more per month than before. I have lived in the same house for the past 11 years and it is mind boggling how these people come up with new ways to thieve us from our hard earned money. I am sorry but I cannot use a better term to describe my feeling that we are literally being robbed.
    I have no clue as to how the system works and also tried to make sense of all the explanations but gave up trying to understand. I live in Brackenfell, I use to pay R400 pm for electricity when I started living here. Over the years it has increased and settled on between R700 – R900 pm. At the time we were 3 people living here. My son, being the 3rd person for the last 2 years comes home only some weekends and as of late due to new employment he found he doesn’t stay here anymore. So for the past month it’s only the wife and I. Two months ago I got a bill of R1500 and last month R1132. For 2 people? I have a fridge, a freezer, a microwave and a pc. I have 2 lights on in the entire house at night and I cook every 3rd day or so. Now with tears in my eyes and love in my heart I ask you how this is possible. Nothing changed apart from my son moving out and my bill increased from R800 to R1500 and R1132 respectively. According to the last account we used 664 kWh. I am going to compare my usage over the years with my current and see if I used more or less pm over the years. Should be interesting to see.

    • admin October 17, 2016 at 11:45 am #

      It is a good idea to record your monthly consumption and costs. Two people using electricity efficiently should be able to reduce consumption below 664kWhs per month. Assuming you are on the City of CT Domestic Electricity User Tariff note that the first 600kWhs costs you R1.125 per month at R1.87 per kWh. The first goal to set would be to stay below 600kWhs per month as above this the charge increases to R2.28 per unit (kWh). Have a look at the energy efficiency quiz to get some ideas on where to reduce consumption. http://greenaudits.co.za/home-energy-audit-20-questions-efficiency-quiz/. Inefficient geysers & inefficient management of hot water use is a big electricity consumer in a home.

      • Leon Slabbert October 28, 2016 at 9:07 am #

        Dear Admin
        Thank you for your reply. I will most definitely look at the link you attached. For the past month the wife and I have decreased our frozen food stock in order for all to fit into one freezer(the one std with the fridge) and have started regulating the geyser on a daily basis by only switching it on for 2-3 hrs per day. This month our bill is R98 less, I expected more of a saving to be honest. I noticed that we are indeed paying the R1.87 tariff and R2.28 thereafter. What I also see is the following.
        For the period 24/8 – 22/9 they tabled my usage as follows:
        (1) 138.082kWh@R1.6451
        (2) 184.110kWh@R1.6451
        (3) 230.137kWh@R1.6451
        (4) 111.671kWh@R2.0005
        This is a total consumption of 663.946kWh. Up to the end of bracket (3) we used 552.275kWh. If we are supposed to pay 1 tariff up to 600kWh why did the municipality put 111.671kWh in bracket (4) thus charging us the new tariff. Should they not have charged us the new tariff on the 63.946kWh we went over the 600?
        Then lastly, and this is what doesn’t make sense, is that for the period 23/7 – 23/8 they charged me the “cheap” tariff for the 1st (3) brackets as they normally do, but those 3 adds up to 670.685kWh and then charged me the bracket (4) rate for the 216.315kWh which brings my consumption for that month to 887kWh. It just does not make sense to me that the one month they charge me R1.87 up to 552.275kWH and the other month the same tariff for the 1st 670.685kWh. Maybe you know something I don’t, but it makes me think they have a different set of rules.

        I do have another question though.

        • admin October 31, 2016 at 5:19 pm #

          The answer I received from the city is that as the months are not all 30 days long they have a formula for a `standard electricity month’ which they use to determine how many units per month are below 600kWhs and how many are above for each month. It is all supposed to sort of balance out.

  10. Mario October 14, 2016 at 6:09 pm #

    I have pay as you go electricity. Until I bought electricity today, I’ve always got 60 kwhs free once a month. But today I didn’t. Can you tell me why?

    • admin October 17, 2016 at 10:26 am #

      On 1 October 2016 Lifeline customers with a property value of over R1 million with a prepaid meter were shifted to from Lifeline with Free Basic Electricity to the Domestic tariff which has no free kWhs and a higher charge per kWh. To find out more about the Lifeline Tariff and whether or not you qualify, read more at: http://greenaudits.co.za/lifeline-electricity-tariff-benefits-who-qualifies/

  11. Corydon October 29, 2016 at 7:45 am #

    I find these prices staggering; and worrying as I am planning to return to Cape Town (after 40 years exile),
    Here in Amsterdam (one of the more expensive cities in Europe) I pay €56 per month for gas and electricity together. That is about R850, and it is an average of summer and winter usage, the latter including central heating — very necessary here where temperatures are around or below o for three to four months of the year. And that heats a very large flat with high ceilings and minimal insulation.
    Part of the problem is the monopoly of Eskom as provider and the City of CT as supplier. When the electricity market was liberalised here some years ago, prices fell hugely. I could certainly get a better deal than what I am now paying if I were to take the trouble to shop around and change suppliers. South Africa needs to introduce some competition into the supply of services; and that is not necessarily at odds with subsidising services to the poor.

    • admin October 31, 2016 at 4:58 pm #

      Until about 10 – 12 years ago South Africa had some of the cheapest electricity in the world. However the essential electrification of over three million households coupled with neglect of new generation capacity, ESKOM has been on the back foot in terms of providing a reliable and affordable supply. ESKOM is now attempting to address the backlog but has had to carry the high cost of peaking plants running on imported fossil fuel (to get us through the morning and evening residential consumption peaks). In addition new coal fired power stations have been subject to massive delays and cost over runs. Alternatively our renewable independent power producer programme has international acclaim for its success – but it appears that ESCOM and our Minister of energy feel threatened by them. Internationally most large national power utilities have been restructured to improve efficiency, service delivery and to bring in new thinking in line with global energy trends of smart grids, distributed generation and users as both producers and consumers. In South Africa, both ESKOM and the government are holding on to power literally and figuratively and to old models of large scale generation based on coal and proposed nuclear. The consequent is increasing ESKOM prices at the same time that renewable energy technology is becoming cheaper. This is fueling a thriving renewable energy market that will in all likelihood leave ESKOM as a stranded utility. (Our weak rand is an issue but is being slightly compensated for by lowering prices in RE technology). Local authorities are extremely concerned about the prices that are being imposed on them by ESKOM and are lobbying for a more open generation and distribution market. There are already a number of precedents and with our abundant sun and wind we will get there. So come and find your place in the sun. We are a country in transition in so many ways that you will never be bored.

  12. Marcolette November 2, 2016 at 6:39 pm #

    i live in a flat in sea point and just purchased R1000.00 electricity and only got 534 units yet when i purchase R500 i get about 350 units. Can you please explain this? and what is the ideal amount to buy in this area to?

    • admin November 3, 2016 at 9:34 am #

      When you bought R1000 worth of electricity you were charged at the correct rate of R1.28 per unit for purchases below 600 units per month (Tariff Domestic block 1). It is possible that you were automatically shifted from the subsidized lifeline tariff to the Domestic tariff on 1st October. This happened to lots of households and could explain why you are getting less units for your payment. Only households who qualify for an indigent rebate will be permitted to stay on the subsidized Lifeline tariff. To see if you qualify for Lifeline go to http://greenaudits.co.za/lifeline-electricity-tariff-benefits-who-qualifies/

  13. The Grove Primary School November 14, 2016 at 10:28 am #

    To whom it may concern

    I am the facilities manager for The Grove Primary School in Claremont is there a possiblity if the school can apply for a reduction in electricity tariffs.
    Where can I obtain the forms?

    Regards
    Claude Arendse

    • admin November 18, 2016 at 12:43 pm #

      Dear Claude, I am an independent energy adviser and don’t work for the City. I presume that Grove is on the Small Power 1 tariff which is designed for non- residential consumers who use more than 1000kWhs / units per month. I am not aware of rebates for schools but it is best for you to contact the City of Cape Town Call centre on 0860 103 089 and find out who to apply to. I shall also make some inquiries. It would be a good idea to undertake an energy audit at the school to look at how behaviour changes and cost effective technology changes can reduce your electricity consumption. You are welcome to contact me in this regard early in the new year on kim@greenaudits.co.za.

  14. Tracey November 18, 2016 at 4:26 pm #

    Hi – my husband and I have 2 kids (high school age). We are currently using 189units/week at a cost of R350.00/week. I want to know why our consumption is so high. We each shower in the day, we cook for two nights to save using the stove every day. We do not use heaters, electric blankets or a tumble drier, no automated garage doors or watering systems. The only lights left on at night for security is 2 lights in front of the house and these are energy savers.

    • admin November 24, 2016 at 1:31 pm #

      It sounds as if the hot water for your showers could be the biggest single electricity consumer. Traditional electric geysers typically use between 25 – 35% of household electricity consumption. So either invest in a solar geyser OR implement the following geyser efficiency measures:
      1 Take short showers (also saves water). If you can’t get the kids to co-operate then install low flow shower heads which reduce water consumption by aerating the water.
      2 Reduce the geyser temperature to 55 Degrees.
      3 install geyser timer and set timer to heat water for no longer than 1 – 2 hours before you shower morning and eve. Play around with the heating times until it works for you.
      4 Insulate the geyser with a geyser blanket if ot feels warm to the touch – as well as the first 3 meters of hot water piping from the geyser.
      Also note that if your kitchen is a long pipe length from your geyser, a lot of hot water gets wasted in the pipes getting the water to hte kitchen. So don’t turn on the hot tap for small washing jobs. either store up dishes and wash when you have a sinkful. Or use the kettle if you only need a little hot water.

  15. Joe Smith December 17, 2016 at 11:45 am #

    The Big question is what is the SSEG tariff going to be like going forward. Currently a daily rate of R11.43 is charged ( about R400 pm ) . Is the Home rate going to be added to the SSEG rate rate in futre or will it be “instead off”

    • admin December 17, 2016 at 3:58 pm #

      From what I understand the SSEG daily rate is where the City is aiming its new Home User service charge – but it needs to phase the Home User in over a few years. So it is likely that the SSEG charge will stay around R400 per month till the Home User charge catches up. Both the SSEG and the Home User are service fees to pay for electricity infrastructure – so you should only ever have to pay for one of the two service charges. Note, I am an independent energy consultant – not a City employee – so not sure if the situation has changed since I last spoke to City officials a while ago.

  16. Modline December 20, 2016 at 6:59 am #

    -I would like to know if we still get free units when we purchase electricity? Because I didn’t get them for the past three months now. Buying between dates 01 and 15 of the month.
    -Which dates of the month do we get the free units?

    • admin January 10, 2017 at 2:32 pm #

      Hi Modline, It looks as if the city has moved you from the Lifeline Tariff with free units to the domestic tariff which does not have free units and has a higher per kWh fee. From 1 Oct the City moved all prepaid households with a rates value over R1 million from the Lifeline tariff. Lifeline is a subsidized tariff for lower income households. If you are a pensioner or an indigent household and meet the lower income criteria, you can apply to the city to go back onto the Lifeline Tariff.

      Note also that for property owners on the Domestic tariff, the city intends bringing in a service fee from 1 July 2017 of R240 per month in addition to and irrespective of whether or not you use electricity that month.

  17. Peter December 21, 2016 at 12:46 pm #

    Hi. I have done all I can to save electricity. Installed a very efficient solar geyser that reduced my summer consumption by about 25% (not much value in winter). We cook with gas and I have changed about 75% of all lights to LED. We are 5 people in the house.

    Our total bill reduced over the last 5 years (even though the tariffs went up).

    But my consumption is still +- 1000 units per month in summer.

    The challenge is now how to reduce that even more.

    A solar pool pump is not feasible. I can save perhaps another 80 units on lighting. But after that, there is not much more I can do.

    It wold be great if I can access useful statistics showing consumption patterns in order to compare my situation with similar households. Do you know where I can get such info.

    Next step would be accurate consumption monitoring. But monitoring equipment is expensive, especially if you want to monitor individual items). Do you have any detail in this regard?

    My worry is really that electricity has just become unaffordable.

    • admin January 13, 2017 at 2:46 pm #

      Hi Peter,
      The stats for electricity consumption for a middle income SA household are not especially useful as one needs to compare no of people, use of space heating /cooling, electric or solar geyser, cooking energy, pool or not etc. However the City of CT’s Smart Living handbook quotes 800kWhs per month as an ave for middle income homes in Cape Town while ESKOM quotes 750- 1000kWhs per month.
      What is useful however is to see the percentage consumption attributed to household appliances! Again these vary depending on the size of the home and number of people showering, clothes washing, cooking, using heaters etc. Typical consumption percentages range from highest to lowest as follows:
      Standard Electric Geyser 24- 35%
      Space cooling: 10 – 14%
      Space Heating: 5-6%
      Other Household electrical appliances: 9-12%
      Cooking incl using kettle: 7-11%
      Pool pump: +/- 10%
      Lighting: 6-8%
      Refrigeration: 5-8%
      Laundry: 1-3%
      Your water heating, cooking and lighting should be below these averages.

      An energy monitor gives a good picture of consumption patterns. I charge R1000 (and petrol depending on how far I have to drive from Fish Hoek) to install one for a week on your mains incoming supply. The meter measures your peak electricity consumption every 15 seconds 24 /7. I down load the info and then give you a graph of every day’s consumption. There is a remote monitor which you can look at to see the electricity consumption accumulating and also see spikes when the dish washer / pool pump/ kettle/ clothes iron etc kick in. At night when all is quiet you can also see what your standby electricity consumption is (and when the fridge motor starts up). The monitor does not measure each appliance but the total demand on the mains. You can buy an Ellies or Owl monitor from an electrical store they cost between R1900 – R2500 – and time to work out how to understand the data. I also have individual socket monitors that do measure appliances. These are useful if you have old inefficient appliances (e.g. fridge) and you are thinking of upgrading to an energy efficient one. (e.g. inverter fridge). they cost about R300 from electrical shops – but are not especially user friendly.

      • Peter Donald CHOWLES February 24, 2017 at 9:29 am #

        Good Morning,
        I see that you offer a service to monitor electricity useage, which I need to address on our property in St James where the electrical account is high.
        Can you contact me, so that we chat a way forward.
        Thanks.
        Peter
        0765093253 or 021 7887521

        • admin February 27, 2017 at 2:45 pm #

          Hi Peter, I have sent you the process steps and costs of an action outcome energy audit and look forward to helping you significantly reduce your electricity consumption.

  18. Winston December 30, 2016 at 1:15 pm #

    has there been a price increaser per 1x KWH? normally I pay 164c P/KWH and always buy R300 per week consistently….today 30/12/2016 I pay 200.05c per 1x KWH. Is this correct? it is around 28 units less than I normally receive……

    • admin January 10, 2017 at 2:23 pm #

      hi Winston, you are on the CT domestic tariff and the charge is 164c P/kWh for electricity consumed below 600kWhs per month. as soon as you use more than 600kWhs you pay a higher tariff of 200.05c P/kWh. (actually 228.06c P/kWh if you add VAT.) So try to keep your consumption below 600kWhs per month and be careful of buying a large number of units on the last day/s of the month as it will tip you into the higher tariff block. R300 gives you 182 units at 164c P/kWh. If you buy R300 of electricity each week that amounts to 731 kWhs at 164c P/kWh. As it is over 600kWhs, this will push you into the higher tariff block most months. Keep a record of the units you use on your pay as you go meter and try to keep below 600kWhs per month. It should be easier in summer?

  19. sarius January 12, 2017 at 9:59 pm #

    im working in riversdale, hessequa municipality, we are using a prepayment meter at our office. The tarrif at the is for a commercial single phase 46 – 63amps. According to what i understand is that in this municipality you pay for days that you dont buy electricity. I calculate this at R8.70 per day. so when you buy prepaid electricity, you must first pay for the days that you did not buy elelctricity. e.g, if i buy R20.00 electricity today, but dont need to buy electricity tomorrow and then buy electricicty the day after, im charged a fee/tarrif/fine for the day that i did not buy electricity, so when i buy, for e.g. R20.00 again, R8.70 is deducted and i only get R11.30 of electricity/units for that amount. can you please explaine how this work.

    kind regards

    sarius

    • admin January 13, 2017 at 3:46 pm #

      Hi Sarius, Hessequa municipality like many others has two charges for commercial consumers. The one is what they call a Basic Charge and that is for the availability of the electricity infrastructure. This is charged whether or not you use electricity. The Basic Charge tariff that I have from the National Energy Regulator for Hessequa for single phase 46 – 63 amps is a daily fee of R7.19 without VAT. This amounts to R215.70 per month pre VAT. The other charge is called the Energy Charge and is R1.30 (130,80 cents) per kWh or unit. I agree that it is very difficult to manage these two charges on the pre-paid system and many customers get caught short especially after the holidays when they have not bought electricity for a while. I doubt you will have any joy fighting the system as basic charges are used by many municipalities and approved by the Nat. Energy Regulator (NERSA). Best to add a lump sum payment of R215.70 plus Vat to the first pre-paid payment you make each month to reduce the uncertainty. If you wish to reduce electricity costs, you will need to look at energy efficiency to reduce your energy costs – by reducing the number of units you purchase. The reality is that the municipalities are battling financially as ESKOM pushes up the cost of electricity which acts as an incentive for consumers to become efficient and buy less electricity. The result is less revenue to maintain the infrastructure and subsidize electricity to lower income customers. Hessequa held an Energy Summit to explore solutions to the challenges and is looking at alternatives to ESKOM electricity to build its own local energy independence. Read about this at: http://greenaudits.co.za/transitioning-to-renewables-hessequa-energy-summit/

  20. Vera Faasen January 16, 2017 at 3:30 pm #

    I recently bought a property and was shocked at the huge increase in electricity as from around October 2016. (I’ve always made do with R300 a month electricity and now I’m paying around R480) I see that I should be on on the Lifeline Tariff as my property is valued at R860 000 and not over R1 million. Where can I go and apply for it to be changed?

  21. Fatimadee January 17, 2017 at 2:05 pm #

    Att Admin – Firstly, thank you so much for your prompt feedback on this forum, it’s appreciated.

    My brother and I purchased a flat for my father and he , a state pensioner, pays the levies and electricity, so is basically a tenant. Before the flat was registered in our names, the tarrif was on Lifeline Block 1, he was comfortably using between 250 – 320kWhs per month ( I have the cash slips as proof), which was great as he is a state pensioner in Lotus River, nothing upscale. Now that the flat registration has gone through he saw that the tariff was increased to Domestic. What can my father/or we do to have the tariff reverted back to Lifeline Block 1?

    Does my father have to complete this form? http://www.capetown.gov.za/City-Connect/Apply/Financial-relief-and-rebates/Individuals/Apply-for-indigent-rates-relief

    Many thanks!

    • admin January 17, 2017 at 3:42 pm #

      Yes follow the link and apply. I believe that your father could meet the criteria to revert to the Lifeline tariff. (Note I am an independent energy auditor not a city official.)

      • Fatimadee January 19, 2017 at 6:31 pm #

        Great stuff, We have completed all the the documentation requirements and will plead our case at the Municipality…thank you for the guidance!

  22. MJ January 25, 2017 at 9:56 pm #

    My mom is a 79 year old senior citizen whose only source of income is a small amount of interest from a few investments.
    She has a credit meter and receives a monthly bill from the City of Cape Town with the following amounts:
    Consumption 308.000 kWh / Daily average 12.320 kWh
    * Consumption charge: domestic
    (1) 123.2880 kWh @ R 1.6451 (2) 164.3830 kWh @ R 1.6451
    (3) 20.3290 kWh @ R 1.6451
    The City of Cape Town has indicated that elex khanyisa are installing prepaid electricity meters in her area (Edgemead) free of charge.
    Should she apply for the meter or is it cheaper for her to have a credit meter?

    • admin January 26, 2017 at 2:49 pm #

      There is no difference in the electricity tariffs between pre-paid and credit meter. My advise is to seriously consider the pre-paid meter system – especially as the city is offering it for free. She will need to manage her electricity purchases so that she does not get caught without electricity – but with cellphone and electronic banking this is not difficult. Keeping an emergency recharge voucher will also ensure that she does not get caught out. A pre-paid meter has the advantage of letting her monitor her consumption on a daily/ weekly basis which is the start to being more energy efficient and saving money. Your Mom may be eligible for a pensioners rebate on electricity if her income falls within the target for pensioners who are economically vulnerable. If this is the case she would pay a reduced electricity fee on the Lifeline tariff. This tariff is also on the pre-paid meter system. Look at http://greenaudits.co.za/lifeline-electricity-tariff-benefits-who-qualifies/ and scroll down to The requirements for a senior citizen or disabled persons rebate.

  23. Simone January 31, 2017 at 10:47 am #

    Good day,

    I hope you will be able to assist me in the following.

    Our electricity bill is really high monthly and I started asking around.

    I was advised that we pay a really high rate for our electricity and that this should be investigated.

    Today I purchased R 500.00 worth of electricity and only received 266 units, meaning this is almost R 2.00 a unit.

    Our previous house was also in Eikenbosch and we paid received 400 units for each R 500.00, do you see my concern?

    Have you had queries in the past regarding this?

    Regards

    • admin January 31, 2017 at 5:19 pm #

      You paid R1.87 per unit which is the correct amount for the Domestic Block 1 tariff for consumption below 600kWhs per month. It looks as if you may have been on the Lifeline tariff at your previous property. Lifeline is a subsidized tariff and only lower income households qualify. The City moved a number of households in the more affluent areas off Lifeline (myself included) and on to Domestic on 1 October 2016. See the explanation for this and who qualifies at: http://greenaudits.co.za/lifeline-electricity-tariff-benefits-who-qualifies/

  24. Belinda Dyck February 1, 2017 at 9:32 am #

    Belinda

    Hi, I am wondering how often are households assessed as to which particular domestic rate they should belong to? How does this happen?

  25. Ricardo February 24, 2017 at 12:02 pm #

    Hi

    I live in the Northern Suburbs , Cape Town
    Our electricity bill for the month is 4k per month

    Can this be possible?

    We don’t have a prepaid box, so our electricity bill comes through on the municipal invoice

    Please send me a link to the tariffs

    Thank you

    • admin February 27, 2017 at 12:34 pm #

      R4000 per month is high, which means you will have a number of options to reduce your consumption. Each year our electricity goes up by between 8 – 12% so it makes increasingly good sense to switch to energy efficient behaviour and to start investing in energy efficient technologies. Enjoy the journey. To do a basic DIY checklist to identify areas where you can save electricity go to:
      http://greenaudits.co.za/home-energy-audit-20-questions-efficiency-quiz/
      For info about the City of CT Tariffs go to:
      http://greenaudits.co.za/which-residential-electricity-tariff-you-are-on-why/

      Note that the City is currently replacing the old account meters with pre-paid meters for free. They are working suburb by suburb. A pre-paid meter is an advantage as you can see on a daily basis what your consumption is and set targets to reduce consumption. I suggest you contact the City’s call centre on 0860 105 089 to find out if / when you are in a suburb scheduled for a free pre-paid meter.

Leave a Reply