After living in a flat for a year, the landlord finally installed a prepaid electricity "box" into our flat, two weeks ago. The physical "box" is actually installed in a seperate restricted area along with the electricity meters of the other residents of the flat complex, but we have the interface which communicates with the box.
Now, the first question I want to ask is: The box came loaded with 50 units of "free" electricity. Those 50 units lasted my wife and I for about 4 and a half days. When buying some R150 worth of electricity at Checkers, we only received 122,5 units. As I understand it the 50 units isn't actually free but will be deducted when units are bought, and this I assume happened here. What I want to know is, am I right in my assumption?
On the Checkers slip there were no mention of cost per unit. Only showed 0 (zero) Kwh. When I buy again, will I be charged with the normal 81 cents per unit (excl vat) as per City of Cape Town's tariff indicator? http://www.capetown.gov.za/en/electr...s/default.aspx
How does the free units work? Is it once off? Monthly? Must you apply to receive them?
The 2nd and probably more important question I wish to ask is: We experienced some irregularities in the interface's readings. It started the Sunday after the box was installed. I noticed 5 units of electricity was consumed between 12h and 18h Sunday afternoon. The thing is, neither my wife nor I used any appliances at all during those times. Only the fridge and geyser was on at the plug.
The Monday afterwards, we decided to do an experiment and switch off all electricity at the main switch before we left for work. The electricity was off for about 7 hours, and when I compared the measurement I took on the interface before we switched the electricity off and the measurement when I switched it on, it showed 0,6 units of electricity was consumed. How is that possible? Could it be some kind of electricity leakage? Or just a faulty interface that cannot measure properly?
The Wednesday after this was a public holiday, and the unbelievable happened. The electricity went off at 6am for no reason. The main switch were on. There were more than enough units still available. The interface can run on batteries and showed that the units didn't deplete overnight. We sat the whole day without electricity. It only went on again at about 10pm. The landlord could do nothing when we phoned him. He said he'll try to phone the council, but it was a public holiday. So, go figure.
My wife and I decided to go spend the afternoon watching a movie at the mall. When we returned to our powerless flat at 5pm, I measured 5 units of electricity was consumed. I switched off the electricity at the main switch, and we went over to spend the night at friends. When we came back at about 21h30 the power was still off (even when testing at the main switch). But when I tested to see if the electricity was on at about 10pm (before going to bed), then lo and behold it went on, and oh to our disgust, 11 units in total was consumed during the powerless day. How the heck is that possible!
I informed the landlord the following day of this and he'll said he'll look into it. Either someone is redirecting our electricity (stealing it), or some other crazy stuff is happening.
I'm keeping a log at this moment of units left over at random times during the day. What I noticed this weekend was, that during the evening at between 8 and 10, we get spikes of electric usage as per interface. Even when I switched of the geyser for the entire Sunday (yesterday), 10 units were consumed, with spikes of electricity in the 3000 and 4000 watts range during the evening. Only the fridge, the tv and 2 bedroom lights were on during those spikes.
I would like to know what you guys think my recourse should be. Should I demand a refund? But from whom? The landlord or City of Cape Town? Could the prepaid box or interface be faulty? My wife and I don't consume much electricity. We only have the fridge and geyser on at the plug all the time (only times the geyser was off was at those time I conducted the experiments to measure how much units are being consumed). Other appliances, such as TV, hotplate, kettle, toaster, washing machine is used far too infrequently to justify such units consumption. We don't have a stove. We don't have an air conditioners. We don't have a tumbler dryer, heater, or any other appliance that eats a huge amount of electricity.
Should I wait for the landlord to sort this out? Or should I lodge a complaint at City of Cape Town?
Thanks for reading this and any assistance you can offer.