The city of Cape Town introduced a 17.6% increase in the electricity tariff from 1 July.
- Cape Town households are revolting due to the 17.6% increase in Cape Town electricity rates, which began on 1 July.
- tThe city implemented its new budget for the 2023/24 financial year with a record capital expenditure budget of R69.9 billion.
- But the city says it has been able to protect local households from Eskom’s 18.5% tariff increase as best it can.
Struggling Cape Town residents are feeling the pinch after Cape Town’s 17.6% electricity tariff increase came into effect from July 1.
The locals revolt, saying they don’t get any value for their money.
The city implemented its new budget for the 2023/24 financial year with a record capital expenditure budget of R69.9 billion, but the budget comes with sharp increases in municipal fee rates.
In May, residents had the opportunity to comment on the city’s “Building Hope” budget.
A total of 1,400 comments were received the majority of which raised concerns about electricity tariffs, load lightening, providing electricity to informal settlements, increasing ownership rates and traffic calming measures to be put in place in Mitchells Plain, Gugulethu, Khayelitsha and Craifontein.
Just a week after the new tariffs, Capiton residents are already struggling, saying the recent electricity surge is pushing ordinary residents further into poverty.
Natasha Gerts, a resident of Tavlsegg and founder of the Electricity Tariff Must Fall campaign, said home assessments in the city were conducted in order to remove most residents from the lifeline tariff on the higher local tariff.
“Which leaves the population at 100% increase without any notices or warnings,” she said, adding that this meant people who had paid R50 for 27 units now paid R50 for just 14 units.
Gertz said that she had been dealing with a lot of retirees who were recipients of the Indigent Grant; But he was transferred to the higher tariff on July 1 and had to re-apply for the Indigent Scholarship.
Having to go through things like this while the city continues to deduct units [at the higher rate] Until their re-order is completed, which may take much longer than usual. Pensioners are sent from one column to another.
Another resident, Quarnita Walsh-Dantu, said, “The cost of electricity is killing me… Before I could actually budget, now I can’t because it’s so expensive… I have a family of six (my parents and my kids) and I’m the breadwinner, but my bread is not wins… With these raises, I just don’t make ends meet.”
Resident Delia Walters said the electricity costs had become unbearable.
“It is a shame that we have to bear the cost of Eskom’s complete incompetence and corruption. We are paying for a service they don’t want us to use. Our government’s continued approval of tariff increases shows that they are part of the problem,” she complained.
But the city maintains that it shielded all households from Eskom’s 18.5% tariff increase as much as possible, reducing the increase to 17.6%, while still funding reliable electric service and a plan to end load shedding.
The city said in a statement that it is providing social relief measures to families in 2023/24.
With City Special Protection, Lifeline tariff customers who use 350 to 600 units will now only pay R1.84 in this usage range, compared to R3.15 per unit in 2022/23. This will help protect households using more electricity this winter, while the average usage of 450 units over a 12-month period is still in place to stay in this tariff category.
The municipality said it had also raised the property value criteria to qualify for the lifeline tariff from R400 000 to R500 000.
Cape Town aims to steadily reduce Eskom reliance, gain access to more affordable energy sources, and end load shedding over time.
“The City’s 2023/24 budget includes a final R2.3 billion load shedding plan to protect against the first four stages of Eskom load offloading by 2026.
“This will be achieved through a combination of open market purchasing power and demand management,” she added.