We have been inundated recently with questions surrounding free basic electricity and how it works. So, naturally we need to inform our users and anyone interested in learning more about what free basic electricity entails. And of course, please feel free to share this post with whoever would like to learn more about free basic electricity.
What is free basic electricity?
“FBE is the amount of electricity, which is deemed sufficient to provide basic electricity services to a poor household. This amount of energy will be sufficient to provide basic lighting, basic media access, basic water heating using a kettle and basic ironing in terms of grid electricity and basic lighting and basic media access for non-grid systems.”
Who is supposed to get the free basic electricity per month?
“The focus of free basic services is intended for poor households, but basically anyone who qualifies for the lifeline tariff plan as stipulated by their municipality.”
What amount of electricity will be considered as free basic electricity?
“The proposed levels of service are 50kWh per household per month for a grid-based system for qualifying domestic consumers, and 50Wp per non-grid connected supply system for all households connected to the official non-grid systems.”
How much is 50kWh and what can be done with this amount of electricity?
“The 50kWh is equivalent to energy necessary for basic lighting, small black and white TV, small radio, basic ironing and basic water boiling through an electric kettle for grid-connected consumers.”
How would one know when the 50kWh has been exceeded?
“For pre-paid meters a household will be provided with a non-interchangeable voucher or token loaded with free basic units per month. When the free units have been used up, the consumer will need to buy additional units at the prevailing approved rates. For credit-metered customers, the total units consumed will be reduced by the amount of free basic units. For credit-meter customers, it is not easy to see when the free units are exceeded.”
What will happen if I do not collect the voucher and who is responsible for issuing it?
“The voucher will be valid for one month only, and units will not accumulate to the next month (claim it or loose it). The same applies for credit-metered consumers (use it or loose it). Remember that network charges will be imposed to all consumption exceeding 50kWh per month. Who is responsible for the provision of the free basic electricity? National government will provide policy and guidelines in respect of free basic electricity. Local government will be responsible for implementation of the FBE with the aid of guidelines from national government.”
What happens in areas where Eskom is the provider rather than municipalities?
“Local government is responsible for the provision of basic services in its area of jurisdiction. Eskom is providing a service on behalf of municipalities. Even in a case like this, municipalities will still be responsible for funding the provision of free basic services. Where government grants are paid to municipalities, these must be paid to Eskom to cover the cost of providing free basic electricity to the targeted households.”