South African consumers are in for a new electricity shock when the government implements its plans from May 1 to penalise wealthier and heavier domestic users of power who fail to heed energy savings warnings.
Eskom will target its customers in the upper-income bracket - people living in wealthier suburbs with homes that have good lighting, a geyser, underfloor heating, electrical gadgets and a swimming pool.
Domestic dwellers in better-off suburbs will be asked to slash their energy consumption by 10 percent - or pay a penalty measured on a daily basis. At present, customers pay 40 cents a kilowatt hour (kWh) for energy but when the new tariff structure comes into effect, heavy users would pay as much as R1,50 per kWh during peak periods.
While the tariff structure in terms of penalties to be imposed was being finalised, heavy users could expect to pay more for electricity unless they started reducing consumption, said Aphane. "Domestic surveys have shown that some people get by on 200kWh a month while others are using up to 5 000kWh a month.
"Many customers are paying R2 000 a month on their electricity bills, while at the lower end people are spending R20 a month only for lighting and electrical items, like a radio," he said.
In terms of the law, customers paying R2 000 would have to cut down by at least 500kWh a month, and failure to do so, although this would depend on consumption measured on a daily basis, could add as much as R750 to their monthly bills.
Aphane said that during peak times energy suppliers used diesel to maintain their supplies and this cost R2 a unit, so there was no way that consumers could continue to pay 40c for a unit when it cost more to supply the power. "It does not make sense that consumers are getting it cheaper," he said.
full story from IOL here