The City of Cape Town over the past two years have chased away thousands of customers by removing them from the lifeline tariff and putting them on normal tariffs! in many cases more than doubling their electricity prices.
Most recently the City of Cape Town have told pensioners that if the house they rent is revalued to above R300,000 these renters must pay a higher electricity price!
In 2009 we installed a solar-electric system and qualified for the lifeline tariff, so we applied and got it. Our average units per month are around 300 kWh (units). Then in July 2014, we suddenly started getting bigger bills.
We had been unilaterally and without warning been moved to the "normal" tariff. Our bill increased from R2,857 in the year ended June 2014 to R6,467 in the year ended June 2015. Our units increased from 3,328 kWh to 3,851 kWh in the same period. So our tariff (rate per kWh) increased from 86 cents per kWh to R1.68, a 95% increase in one year!
Out of interest, the reason for the increase in kWh usage was because our geyser started using excess electricity and we had it replaced under guarantee in August 2015. Something went wrong with its insulation. We found this out because we measure our geyser and household electricity usage ourselves, and because we started having brown water from time to time.
What the City should be doing is putting everyone on the lifeline tariff who use less than 600 kWh per month, perhaps only giving free kWh to those who earn less than a certain amount. Reason? As an incentive to use less.
A person who is renting should not be penalised by a homeowner who has their house revalued, for example to get at capital in the house.
In this case, the homeowner should pay the extra electricity cost!
In the case where a house is revalued by the City, the homeowner should apply for a revision back to the purchase price of the property.
Just because houses of a similar size in a particular area are considered to have a particular value by the city and estate agents does not mean that your house has the same value.
One of the oldest problems in South Africa is the discrepancy between rates and utility costs; something our new government has overlooked, even as it tries to right the wrongs of the past.
In the early 1900's, the landowners decided that the utility costs should be high whilst the rates should be low. Landowners can own huge tracts of land without paying properly for this area's maintenance, whilst the renter has to pay relatively high utility prices.
This secret can be found in Professor Renfrew Christie's book "Electricity, Industry and Class in South Africa". The book is available online at https://play.google.com/books/reader?id=n3WjRrnNqCUC... Professor Christie published the book in 1984, whilst a political prisoner at the time.
Of-course someone living in their own home is not penalised. Their rates are higher whilst their utility costs are lower and overall their costs are the same.
The benefit of higher rates is that these are local to each city and municipality and can therefore be more equitably shared where they are raised.
VAT is also saved by the homeowner as their utility bills will be lower and VAT is paid on utility bills. Of-course big landowners are VAT registered and don't pay VAT.
Imagine the City saying come live in Cape Town where, if you use less than 600 kWh per month you benefit by paying less for electricity.
This benefits homeowners and business owners, and will create thousands of jobs in the blue economy.
And Capetonians will also get all the other benefits, like better housing, no toll roads, better security, more jobs, more electricity security and etc.