i was always under the impression that if you have an unbalanced load you pay for the highest load.

well this is incorrect...even if you have 1 amp on the red phase 20 amps on the white phase and 200 amps on the blue phase...the meter will calculate the load per phase and add it up and give you a total consumption converted to kw/hr

this is the case for a standard tarriff using a standard 2 phase meter...

there are a variety of tarriff structures...which could save you electricity for example if your plant runs 24 hours a day...if you improve your power factor correction...but only if you are on the correct electricity tariff.

in durban there is also a time of use tariff for residentual properties if you use more than 1000 kwhr per month

this is a complex task understanding how to structure your type of tariff...so my advice...dont just get any person to help you.

especially when it comes to power factor correction...you could save if this equipment is designed and installed correctly...but can also cost you lots of money if not designed correctly and will not save you on your monthly bill...but even more sad is the maintance cost...a customer had a person fit a R100 000.00 for their factory but because of the bad design within 12 months 60 % of the unit is out of commission and the cost to repair is about R60 000.00...so you have to ask yourself are you saving money.