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Customers increasingly switching to prepaid electricity meters to reap the benefits <p>The households of two Lotus River residents Ms Cynthia Bernickow and Ms Collen Lackay were visited today, 16 January 2020. They recently made the switch from the old credit meters to prepaid meters. </p><p>‘We are very happy with the unit. It’s been easy to monitor how much we use.  Now that it’s summer we also use less electricity because the geyser doesn’t have to be switched on as often,’ said Ms Bernickow.</p><span> <figure class="subtopic-fullsize-img"> <img class="responsive" src="" alt="" /> </figure><p>​​‘The City is offering this programme free of charge. It holds many benefits to residents and also the municipality as it is vital to invest in the maintenance and replacement of old infrastructure for a city to thrive and become more resilient. Many credit meters are in excess of 30 years old and are required to be replaced to avoid inaccurate readings. </p></span><p>‘A prepaid meter puts the power in the hands of the customer as it enables them to have more direct control over their usage and household budgeting is made easier as the meters include an in-home display that shows consumption clearly. It helps to eliminate the chances of month-end electricity account shocks. The chance of electricity supply being cut off due to non-payment is also eliminated when a prepaid meter is installed. The risk of meter failure is furthermore reduced,’ said Mayor Plato.</p><span> <figure class="subtopic-fullsize-img"> <img class="responsive" src="" alt="" style="width:944px;" /> </figure><p>​​ The order in which areas benefit is determined based on the number of electricity meters in need of replacement. Currently, the programme is being rolled out in areas such as City Centre, Fresnaye, Three Anchor bay, Schotsche Kloof, Hout Bay, Mowbray, Woodstock, Pinelands, Edgemead, etc. For the programme schedule, please visit <a href=""></a></p></span><p>‘One of the greatest advantages of switching to a prepaid meter is that it enables qualifying customers to move to the subsidised Lifeline Tariff. This would make it possible for them to access financial aid and free units and help to keep monthly household utility costs down. </p><p>‘It is important to emphasise that to the contrary of some of the urban myths that exist, electricity is not more expensive via a prepaid meter. It actually enables customers to limit or reduce their usage directly and manage their household expenditure. We encourage customers to join others in making the switch and reaping the potential rewards,’ said Councillor Maxiti.</p><span> <figure class="subtopic-fullsize-img"> <img class="responsive" src="" alt="" style="width:1024px;" /> </figure><p>​​Once in an area, a contractor appointed by the City will do a mail-drop at each targeted customer’s address requesting that they make contact to set up an appointment at a time that is convenient to them. Once the appointment has been made, a reference number will be generated. If residents have not received a mail-drop or are in any doubt as to whether this is a legitimate City project, they can contact the City’s call centre on 0860 103 089.</p></span><p>The new prepaid meter is located outside on the street, with an in-house display provided inside the customer’s property. Locating the meter outside the premises allows the City to more easily access the meter.</p><p>To see the qualifying criteria for indigent benefits, please visit <a href=""></a></p><p><strong>Common myths busted about buying electricity </strong><br></p><table width="100%" class="ms-rteTable-default" cellspacing="0"><tbody><tr><td class="ms-rteTable-default" style="width:50%;"><strong>​MYTH</strong></td><td class="ms-rteTable-default" style="width:50%;"><strong>​TRUTH</strong></td></tr><tr><td class="ms-rteTable-default">​The amount you pay per unit is different depending on which suburb of Cape Town you are in. </td><td class="ms-rteTable-default">​<strong>Your electricity usage combined with your municipal property valuation and/or meter type determines what you pay. </strong>The City has three residential tariffs, Lifeline, Domestic and Home User (HU) and, depending on usage, i.e. purchase of less than 450 units per month, qualify for the Lifeline tariff dependent on property value; otherwise the Domestic or HU tariffs apply dependent on property value. You will have one of these tariffs applied to your meter not because of the suburb that you live in but based upon the above criteria, of which property value is one of the considerations. Should you have an old-style credit meter, you will be placed on the Home User tariff.</td></tr><tr><td class="ms-rteTable-default">​You should buy units on the 1st of the month if you want to get the full free units, otherwise the amount you get drops throughout the month.</td><td class="ms-rteTable-default"><p><strong>​You don’t have to buy on the 1st of the month to get free units. </strong>Free units or free basic electricity is only applicable to customers on the Lifeline Tariff. Two free allocations are applied depending on the average level of consumption: an allocation of 60 units if you use less than 250 kWh per month on average OR 25 units if you use between 250 kWh and 450 kWh per month. Free units are granted on your first purchase of every calendar month, irrespective of when that is.</p></td></tr><tr><td class="ms-rteTable-default">​You should buy units on the 1st of the month because the rate per unit increases as the month goes on. </td><td class="ms-rteTable-default">​<strong>It isn’t cheaper to buy on the 1st of the month. </strong>The City has an inclining block tariff which is refreshed every month, so if you only purchase in the first block, you pay the same amount; the higher cost of the second block kicks in once you reach the threshold of the first block.</td></tr><tr><td class="ms-rteTable-default">​You should buy as many units as you can in one go as they are cheaper in bulk. </td><td class="ms-rteTable-default">​<strong>Buying in bulk is not cheaper! Only buy what you need! </strong>You should only buy what you need in a given month – this will keep your costs down. When buying in bulk, you move onto the second block for units above the monthly usage threshold, which is more expensive. So, buying in bulk can be considerably more expensive.</td></tr><tr><td class="ms-rteTable-default">​You should rather make many small purchases in the month so that you stay within the cheapest block rate with each purchase.</td><td class="ms-rteTable-default">​<strong>Many small purchases could cost you more! </strong>The rate applied on each purchase is dependent on previous purchases in the month (i.e. it accumulates). Once the first block is bought up, you automatically move to the second block irrespective of the number of times you made a purchase.</td></tr><tr><td class="ms-rteTable-default">​Monthly totals are based on how much you use, not on how many units you buy at a time.</td><td class="ms-rteTable-default">​<strong>It is about how many units you buy. </strong>Prepaid meters are not intelligent meters. The meter merely accepts tokens and then reduces as the units are consumed. When buying electricity at a vending station, our computer server determines what has been bought previously in the month and what block rate to apply to the purchase of electricity for the given amount.</td></tr><tr><td class="ms-rteTable-default">​You pay more per unit when you use electricity in winter months or during peak hours in the evening.</td><td class="ms-rteTable-default"><strong>​</strong><strong>The price is the same no matter the time or season.</strong><br>Residential tariffs do not differ according to the time of the day or the year when electricity is consumed.</td></tr></tbody></table><p><br> </p><p><strong>End</strong></p>2020-01-15T22:00:00ZGP0|#1d539e44-7c8c-4646-887d-386dc1d95d70;L0|#01d539e44-7c8c-4646-887d-386dc1d95d70|City news;GTSet|#62efe227-07aa-45e7-944c-ceebacca891dGP0|#b195be29-9300-4dc7-ac99-92629ce847ac;L0|#0b195be29-9300-4dc7-ac99-92629ce847ac|electricity;GTSet|#2e3de6c1-9951-4747-8f53-470629a399bb;GP0|#6726a848-c941-4335-a635-298402a30db3;L0|#06726a848-c941-4335-a635-298402a30db3|energy and climate change1


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