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What You Need To Know About Your Water And Electricity Bill

Author: Melissa Cohen
Date: 2017-03-28
An approved electricity price hike of 2.2% is coming our way this July; what can we do to cut corners on our water and electricity bill?
It seems like South African consumers are just counting the costs of every little price increase these past couple of years. Fuel always seems to be on the up, inflation is high, and the national water crisis has brought on tariffs, penalties, and fines. That’s enough to have us turn on our neighbours should they dare turn on their hose pipes at the wrong time.
Read More About Cape Town Naming and Shaming the Biggest Water Wasters Below
And if you think the electricity price increases are behind you, think again. Expect a 2.2% average price increase to be implemented on 1 April 2017 for Eskom direct customers. For municipalities, it will come in on 1 July 2017 for municipalities – as approved by the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (Nersa). Whether you’re prepaid or get a monthly water and electricity bill, now’s the time to scrutinise every little detail that could cost you more money, unnecessarily.

How To Cut Electricity Costs

There have been countless methods on how to buy prepaid electricity. Buy in small quantities throughout the month and get more units for less, or buy once a month to avoid being penalised by paying more. This argument has divided households, but the truth is, there really isn’t a ‘hack’ to when and how to buy electricity. For prepaid users, you’re charged in brackets (e.g. 0-50 units, 50-99 units, etc.), and as you go up from bracket to bracket throughout the month, the amount you pay per unit goes up as well. So, regardless of whether you’re buying in small amounts, or one large amount upfront, or get billed monthly (if you use more than 600 kW/h), the more electricity you use, the more you pay per unit. The best way to cut costs is to monitor and manage your usage. Jay Naidoo, CEO of All Power Systems, says there are three strategies for reducing your electricity bill:
  1. Changing your energy behaviour.
  2. Introducing energy efficient products.
  3. Investing in solar power.
The first of which can result in a 5-15% reduction in what you spend on electricity. It's also a good idea to know what the high energy consumers are in your home, like your geyser, electronics, and pool. You can do this yourself or, for an accurate take on where you can save the most on your electricity bill, hire an experienced utility/energy management company.

How To Cut Water Costs

As the level of water restrictions progress (we’re currently at Level 3B), so does the tariff structure. As of 1 December 2016, standalone houses have been charges as follows:

The 2016/17 domestic full tariffs per 1 000 litres (kl) for fresh water will be:

  • The first 6kl of water is free,
  • After 6kl, but up to 10,5kl, will cost R16,54 per kl (normal R14.89).
  • Succeeding 10,5kl, but before 20kl will cost R23,54 per kl (normal R17.41).
  • After 20kl but before 35 kl will cost R40,96 (normal R25.80).
  • Succeeding 35kl but before 50 kl will cost R66.41 (normal R31.86).
  • Above 50kl will cost R200.16 (normal R42.03).

The 2016/17 domestic full tariffs per 1,000 litres (kl) for sanitation are:

  • The first 4.2kl of water is free,
  • After 4.2kl, but up to 7.35kl will cost R13.98 per kl (normal R12.56),
  • Succeeding 7.35kl, but before 14kl will cost R27.47 per kl (normal R20.34),
  • After 14kl but before 24.5 kl will cost R35.29 (normal R22.23),
  • Succeeding 24.5kl but before 35 kl will cost R48.65 (normal R23.34).
This can only be changed if our collective attitude towards water consumption changes drastically, or if our dams receive adequate rainfall. What we can do, if we haven’t already (tisk, tisk), is try to implement smart water solutions around our homes.

6 Ways To Save Water In Your Home

  1. Recycle grey water from the bath, shower, or washing machine for use in your garden.
  2. Learn how to give your car a dry wash.
  3. Minimise toilet flushing, and put a brick in the cistern to restrict water wastage.
  4. Identify and fix all leaks.
  5. Using water-efficient dishwashers, and only running them when the load is full.
  6. Buy water-efficient fixtures like a low-flow toilet or water-efficient shower heads.

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