In its recent announcement that it would be increasing electricity tariffs, Eskom assured South Africans that poorer households would continue to receive free basic electricity.
“It needs to be noted that vulnerable sectors such as the poor residential customers are protected by particular subsidies as well as free basic electricity,” Eskom said at the time.
Eskom elaborated on its Free Basic Electricity (FBE) programme in a tweet detailing the purpose and power allocations provided to indigent South Africans.
“[Free Basic Electricity] is the electricity allocated to support the indigents,” Eskom said.
“It is the amount of electricity considered enough to run basic lighting – where you can do basic ironing, have basic media access, and boil water using an electric kettle.”
Qualifying South Africans will receive a maximum of 60kWh per month and will be charged for any usage above this amount.
Free Basic Electricity vouchers
Indigent South Africans who qualify for this programme will receive one FBE voucher every month for this amount, and only one FBE voucher may be redeemed on a monthly basis.
“The FBE vouchers are available effective from the 1st of the month and can be collected anytime during the specific month,” Eskom said.
The power utility added that the amount of free electricity received every month depends on the area or municipality where qualifying South Africans reside.
“The maximum amount is between 50kWh – 60kWh per household depending on the area or municipality you reside in,” Eskom said.
Once you have qualified for Eskom’s FBE programme, your municipality will include you on the list of FBE beneficiaries and submit the list to Eskom.
After this, you will be able to collect your FBE vouchers from Eskom vending outlets.
The power utility advised South Africans to follow the steps below to see if they qualify for FBE:
- Visit your municipal office
- Ask your ward councillor
- Contact Eskom on 0860 037 566
Qualifying income brackets
Eskom told MyBroadband that the indigent amount to qualify for Free Basic Electricity is a household income of R3,500 or less.
The monthly household income required to qualify for free basic electricity can vary by municipality, as does the amount of free monthly power provided.
The City of Johannesburg, for example, provides an allocation of between 10kWh to 30kWh as part of its Free Basic Services programme.
South Africans who earn a monthly income of R1,064.27 or below qualify for the highest level of subsidy, which includes 30kWh of free monthly electricity.
Electricity subsidies are capped at 150kWh per household per month.