Be conscious of your electricity consumption advises City. Read more to find out how low monthly electricity consumption is rewarded with a free 50kwh per month and if you are on the correct Tariff Level?

 The City of Cape Town’s Mayoral Committee Member for Utility Services, Alderman Clive Justus, reminds residents that by monitoring their household electricity consumption, they can become conscious consumers and make adjustments to reduce unnecessary consumption and costs. There are 3 distinct tariff levels based on average annual consumption. As a conscious consumer who makes energy saving choices, such as turning down the geyser thermostat, it is possible to reduce consumption and move to a lower tariff rate.

 The existing domestic electricity tariff structure is as follows:

Lifeline Electricity Tariff: less than 400kWh per month over a 12 month period are charged 53.9 cents per unit. This tariff entitles users to a free allocation of 50kWh of electricity per month. To qualify you would need to spend less than R210 per month on electricity at the current price.

Domestic Low:  Consumers who use between 401- 800kWh per month over a 12 month period are charged 77.37cents per unit.

Domestic High:  Consumers who use between over 800kWh per month over a 12 month period are charged 64.44 cents per unit, but pay an additional R3.40 daily consumption fee.

 Electricity meters in the home are an excellent way of monitoring and understanding consumption patterns. Check your meter on a daily basis until you identify your home electricity guzzlers.  Many pre-payment meters have a ‘high consumption’ red warning light which flashes faster as your consumption increases, e.g. when your teenager is busy draining the geyser in what is euphemistically called a shower – but is in reality a long hot downpour.  If the red light is flashing check what you can switch off – lights, appliances, possibly the geyser and preferably the teenager. Even if you do not have a pre-paid meter, monitoring your monthly account and being conscious of what causes spikes in usage is a good way to learn to manage and reduce consumption.  And it gives you the information to work out if you are being charged at the correct tariff.  New electricity prices will come into effect on 1July 2010, and as Eskom is threatening a 35% increase, the effort of monitoring your consumption could be financially worthwhile.   

 An average low-income household uses about 370 kWh per month (or 12 units per day), whilst an average middle-income household uses about 775 kWh per month (or about 26 units per day). These are just ball park figures and can vary widely, depending on the number of people in a household and their lifestyles.

 If you suspect that you are not being charged the correct tariff, report the matter to the City’s Call Centre on 0860 103 089 for households who receive monthly electricity accounts or 0800 220 440 for households with prepaid meters.

 The City has a total of 579 000 electricity customers, approximately 160 000 of whom have the older electricity credit-type meters which are read both by in-house staff and by a City contractor. It is impossible to read each meter every month, as many of these meters are situated inside houses where it may be difficult to gain access. In such cases a card is usually left, requesting that the consumer take a meter reading themselves and send it to the number provided on the card. If this is not done, the City estimates an expected usage and the figures are corrected and balanced the next time an actual reading takes place. After three consecutive missed readings, a letter will be sent to the consumer requesting assistance in obtaining a reading. If this fails to achieve a response, the consumption is manually increased and a note is captured on the system for future reference.

 “The only way to ensure accurate billing of accounts is to ensure the City obtains regular meter readings,” said Alderman Justus, “It makes sense for the City and it certainly makes sense for the consumer”.

 KimK includes extracts from City of CT Media Release 15 February 2010