City of Joburg suspends prepaid electricity tariffs

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The approved tariff would have seen residential prepaid electricity users paying a fixed surcharge of R200 a month.

With consumers already economically burdened by increased tariff hikes which were effective from 1 July, pressure on household income and a slow economy, the MMC for Finance, councillor Funzela Ngobeni and relevant stakeholders found that the extra fee was against the public interest, for now.

The approved fixed surcharge which would have charged R200 per month for prepaid residential users and R402 for business residential users was aimed to align with conventional tariffs. The tariff has been suspended for further engagement with stakeholders.

Ngobeni said, “We heard the voices of the customers through submissions made during public meetings. While we consider the tariffs to be cost-effective, we can not ignore the calls for relief by our residents.”

The City said the tariff increases were in line with the inflation target including proposed hikes from Eskom, Rand Water and National Energy Regulator of South Africa (Nersa). The tariffs increase include 13.7 per cent in electricity, 9.9 per cent in water and 7 per cent for refuse.

Ngobeni added that the City would be implementing a debt rehabilitation programme which would allow for strained households to apply for municipal debt rehabilitation.

Some of the requirements customers need to meet include keeping their current accounts up to date and allow for regular inspection of metered services. If they meet all the requirements they will receive immediate relief on 50 per cent of their debt, the remaining debt will be written off in three years.

The application process will start in September and in August the City will do a citywide educational roadshow.