Following Polokwane Municipality’s shock announcement that consumers will have to fork out 13,7% more for electricity from 1 July, questions are raised on how the prepaid tariffs are calculated.
Communications and Marketing Manager of the municipality, Matshidiso Mothapo said that it is quite simple to understand the Incline Block Tariffs (IBT) and that consumers can save money by buying their pre-paid energy at the right time of the month and in a planned manner.
“All consumers pay a basic charge of R98 per month. The tariffs payable thereafter are divided into four blocks. The first block (up to 50 kWh) costs 98c per kWh, the second block (51 to 350 kWh) costs 127c per kWh, while the third block (351 to 600 kWh) costs 187c per kWh and the fourth block (601 kWh and more) costs 219c per kWh,” Mothapo said. The tariffs apply to pre-paid as well as conventional consumption.
Mothapo explained that IBT divides the electricity price into several steps or blocks. The first block of electricity is at the lowest price. As the customer purchases more electricity during the month, the electricity bought will eventually fall in block two which is a bit more expensive.
This process repeats automatically as the customer purchases further electricity to move into block two and block three to the highest block four. At the end of the month, the history is reset and the customer will again start the next month from block one.
“The process to move from the one block to the next is automatic and depends only on the amount of electricity that is acquired by the customer. The movement to the next block is not at all affected whether the purchases are spread over many transactions or if all the electricity is part of one transaction.
Because the blocks increase in the price, customers can save money by not buying more electricity than what they will use during the month.
It is much better to wait until the next month and start to buy again at the low price,” Mothapo advised.
Story and photo:BARRY VILJOEN