Joburg prepaid electricity users face R554 fixed fee

Prepaid electricity users in Johannesburg could soon pay substantially more for their connections, even before using any power.

The metro’s adjustment budget for the 2024/2025 financial year includes a proposal that prepaid electricity charges in the city be split into two different tariffs from 1 July.

The first “Low User” tariff plan is for indigent households, and the budget proposed a variable energy charge increase of 6.36% for it.

The second “High User” tariff will see variable energy charges increased by 18.84%.  For reference, Eskom’s wholesale electricity tariff hike for municipalities is 12.72%.

“High” tariff users will also be required to pay a R244.20 service charge and R237.30 capacity charge. Previously, they had no fixed charges.

When including VAT, the total for these fixed charges works out to R553.73, which “High User” customers will have to pay just for their connection.

The CoJ has repeatedly tried to implement these charges in previous years, going as far back as 2019.

However, time and again, it scrapped the plan following media reports and backlash from residents.

DA slams tariff plan — City Power says nothing is set in stone

The DA has labelled the most recent adjustments as “ridiculous” and encouraged residents to give their input on the budget in the public participation process. City Power denied that any tariff adjustments had been decided.

“The customer and stakeholder engagement process, which has already commenced through the Integrated Development Plan and other regulated consultation processes, will discuss the proposed 12.72% tariff increase that will come into effect in July if approved,” City Power said.

“From those discussions, a decision will be tabled at the Johannesburg City Council, taking into account the interest of the customers and the inflation in operational expenses.

“It is important to emphasise that City Power has not reached that stage yet, and any suggestion that seeks to claim that we have is false and unfounded.”

However, it acknowledged there was a plan to “align” prepaid users’ capacity charges with those of conventional users.

That suggests although the amounts for the fixed charges might not be final, they could still be introduced.

The city currently charges users with postpaid billing R708.63 capacity charge and R240.56 service charge. This high fee acted as a major incentive for prepaid meter adoption.

The adjustment budget also proposes increasing these fees by 16.74%, meaning conventional electricity users will pay over R1,000 a month before consuming a single kWh.

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Joburg prepaid electricity users face R554 fixed fee