Tariff increases – That time of the year again

By Dirk Groenewald – Executive MidCity Utilities (Pty) Ltd

We have reached that dreaded time of the year again when Eskom and local municipalities will once again increase their tariffs on all charges and services.

The National Energy Regulator of South Africa (NERSA), approved the following electricity increases for 2023 / 2024:

Eskom direct clients: 18,65%, as of 1st of April 2023

Municipalities supplied by Eskom:  18,49%, as of 1st of July 2023

Over the past few years, it has been a challenge for residents, businesses, and industries to comment on the proposed yearly municipal tariff increases.

Municipalities often publish their proposed tariffs for comment in the public domain just before or on the yearly implementation date.

This leaves all electricity consumers on the backfoot without specific budget planning, calculations, and provisions for the increase in cost.

Municipalities can decide, depending on their budget requirements, to charge a lesser percentage on the electricity increase amount than what was approved by NERSA – Let’s hope that this can be a reality!!!

Apart from the yearly tariff increases, we’re also moving toward winter.

Higher demand and consumption in the winter period is also associated with higher cost.

There are different tariff structures in the Eskom and municipal basket, ranging from residential, commercial, and industrial as a broad summary or energy end user portfolio.

Clients can be billed according to one or more of the following electricity tariffs and principles:

  • Flat rate for kWh.
  • Sliding scale for kWh used in a month.
  • Time of Use (ToU) energy scale split up into peak, off-peak and standard schedules – kWh charged at different rates.
  • Time of Use (ToU) energy used in winter months split up into peak, off-peak and standard schedules – kWh charged at different rates and much higher than summer tariff rates.
  • Demand charges on a flat rate throughout the year.
  • Demand charges on different season rates for summer and winter.
  • Fixed monthly charges for network connectivity (regardless of whether electricity is used or not).
  • Combinations of the above-mentioned points.

We advise that all end users should familiarise themselves with their applicable tariff structures as it could prevent nasty billing surprises.

Clients who are on the Time of Use (ToU) structure can plan the use of high electricity usage equipment or needs at times when the Time of Use (ToU) tariff is on the off-peak or standard rates.

We know it is easier said than done, as most households use electricity during peak times to prepare food, do washing and bath / shower.

(Note: Not all households are on the Time of Use structures)

As per the Eskom Schedule, below the Time of Use schedule and breakdown:

  • Low demand season:                 September through to May
  • High demand season:                June, July and August,

Apart from the challenges we’re facing with load shedding, increasing inflation and overall survival, being energy efficient by knowing and understanding your electricity tariffs can assist in stretching our hard earned Rands.

Once we receive confirmation of the different Municipal tariffs, we will share it with our clients.

Should you require any assistance with regard to your applicable tariff and the structure, please do not hesitate to contact us.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

How can I purchase pre-paid electricity?

By making use of one of the following:

  • MidCity Utilities App
  • MidCity Utilities Website
  • Internet Banking
  • Unipin vouchers
Where can I buy a Unipin voucher?
  • Unipin vouchers can be purchased at registered retailers, garages and other suppliers.
How do I load a Unipin voucher?
  • When providing your pre-paid meter number to the cashier, the pre-paid purchase will transfer over to the meter automatically.
  • If you do not provide your meter number to the cashier and you receive the voucher slip, you must follow the steps as set out thereon.
  • Make sure you are using the correct meter number.
Where do I get my meter number/meter serial number?
  • After registering with MidCity Utilities for pre-paid electricity, our Customer Care Personnel will SMS you your meter number.
  • When you register for the Mobile App or on our website, you will also be able to see your meter number.
  • Clients who also request to receive monthly statements, even though they are on pre-paid, will be able to see their meter number on their monthly statement.
  • Contact our Customer Care Personnel.
How do I see what my meter balance is?
  • Log in to either our Mobile App or website.
  • SMS the word Balance (space) meter number to 37823. You will receive an SMS with your meter balance and predicted zero balance date.
  • Use your keypad, if you have one.
Will I receive low balance warnings or notifications?
  • Yes. A low balance notification will be sent to the registered cell phone number that is loaded onto our system.
  • The low balance notification will be sent 48 hours before the calculated depletion date.
  • The depletion date received on the low balance notification, Mobile App or website is an estimation and depends on a client’s consumption habits and changes.
How do I know that credit has been loaded?

Mobile App or Website

  • The final step in the process on the Mobile App or website will indicate if the transaction was successful.
  • Transfer of credits to the meter can take approximately 10 minutes after the purchase is completed successfully.
  • On the Mobile App, website or SMS balance enquiry, it can take between 30 minutes to an hour to update the effective current balance after a purchase was made.

Internet Banking

  • Confirmation of transaction is provided by your banking service.
  • You will receive an SMS or email with the value of the token as well as the 20-digit code already loaded on your meter.
  • Purchases through Internet Banking can take approximately 30 minutes to transfer over to the meter.
  • On the Mobile App, website or SMS balance enquiry, it can take between 30 minutes to an hour to update the effective current balance after a purchase was made.

Unipin voucher

  • After following the process reflected on the voucher with your cell phone, you will receive confirmation and notification on your device.
  • Purchases through Unipin vouchers can take approximately 30 minutes to transfer over to the meter.
  • On the Mobile App, website or SMS balance enquiry, it can take between 30 minutes to an hour to update the effective current balance after a purchase was made.
My token is not loading. What do I do?