Increased load shedding schedules leave many with no power, and yet you’re still stuck with a hefty electricity bill to pay that seems to grow larger with each passing month.
According to IOL News, many people believe that since they can’t use or pay for electricity during frequent power outages, their bills should be lower.
However, each month, the bill arrives, and the amount owed doesn’t decrease; in fact, it often increases.
A tweet from earlier this year in response to the tarrifs at the time.
Increased load shedding:If there is no power, why do you pay?
Having no power for six hours daily, totaling 180 hours monthly, seems like there’s nothing to pay for. But, as energy specialist Lungile Mashele from the Development Financial Institution of the Development Bank of South Africa emphasises, there’s more to it.
She points out substantial increases, quoting an 18.65 percent rise for Eskom customers in April 2023 and an 18.49 percent hike for most municipal customers in July 2023.
“In essence, you’re now paying nearly 20 percent more for electricity than before.When power is restored, your appliances must regain their optimal temperatures, causing increased consumption.
During Stage 6 load shedding, your electric geyser must restart every 4 hours, which is crucial as it can make up 40% of electricity usage.”
Peak hours contribute to big bills
Mashele highlights a common misconception:that during load shedding, people use less electricity. In reality, they shift their consumption to different times of the day.
For example, while you might not run the dishwasher at 10:00, you’ll do it at 18:00, coinciding with the evening peak and costing you more.
Tarrifs remain the same throughout
Fixed tariffs stay constant monthly, and Eskom’s bulk electricity bill to municipalities doesn’t decrease during load shedding. The Eskom bulk purchases account encompasses several tariff elements.
The overall Eskom bill remains unaffected during load shedding. Additionally, Eskom employs higher winter tariffs (June to August) compared to summer rates. Within the Eskom bulk purchases account, there exist various tariff categories, each with distinct tariffs for different metering points.
Certain metering points adhere to time-of-use tariffs. The account includes fixed, demand-related, and energy-related components.
“The load factor represents the connection between the highest monthly demand (kVA) and the monthly energy consumption (kWh units).”
Thus, even if Eskom’s bulk energy unit purchases decrease due to load shedding, the higher peak demand after load shedding and the decreased load factor will cause a slight increase in the total average cost per unit.