Written by on July 8, 2024

Written by: Khanyisile Yende


The embattled power utility City Power’s recent decision to impose a new R200 fixed service charge (R230 including VAT) on the prepaid high-usage electricity tariff, effective from 1 July 2024. Electricity tariffs in Johannesburg were increased by 12.7% on Monday.

The new rates that kicked in this week include a Nersa-approved 13% average tariff hike for electricity in Joburg. While this hike will affect conventional electricity users, prepaid users will see other significant changes in their bills.

Speaking to VOW fm Drive City Power’s senior manager Ngobani,  the new tariff increase is determined by several key factors, such as industry inflation  which is driven by increases in bulk purchase costs, the utility’s operational cost and cost structure,

Meanwhile, the utility will introduce a total basic charge of R200 to prepaid customers over the next three years. This is subject to them making a more suitable contribution to the cost of servicing the specific customer group.

The average increase for a typical low earning customer was limited to 6.21% as they are the most vulnerable customer category. Therefore, the residential low-prepaid customer that consumes 374kWh per month will pay an extra R49.17 for the same 374kWh, increasing the total charge from R791.57 to R840.74, Other customer categories  that will continue to be subsidised  for the customer category in this regard. Which is implied that when a client purchases electricity, the R200 will be collected upfront before any consumption-related charges. The complete basic price (R200) will be recovered from eligible prepaid consumers via the prepayment platform.

Registered low earning customers will continue to receive the residential low prepaid tariff, which will remain based on the inclining block tariff methodology prescribed by Nersa.

Qualifying citizens can access Free Basic Electricity (FBE) and are encouraged to approach their nearest Service Delivery Centre or regional walk-in centres to register for the Expanded Social Package (ESP) rebates.

“The new electricity surcharge is a necessary intervention to create fairness and equality in the City’s tariffs regime. Post-paid customers have been paying the surcharge and only pre-paid customers were excluded. What the introduction of the surcharge now seeks to do, is to end the unfair subsidization of prepaid customers by post-paid customers” said Mayor Gwamanda.

According to the City of Joburg

, the following consumers qualify to receive the ESP:

  • The unemployed;
  • Women and children;
  • Youth;
  • Senior citizens;
  • Persons with Disabilities (PWDs);
  • Displaced persons.

Furthermore, those with an income of R6 281.13 or less also qualify.

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