Another bill to pay

Robert Laing

Robert Laing

Expect a shock in this month's municipal bills when they reveal how big the annual increases, which took effect on July 1, are.

Johannesburg and Tshwane residents face the double whammy of new property assessment rates along with the tariff increase granted to Eskom plus higher water and refuse removal fees.

Annual municipal rate increases take effect on July 1 every year. According to the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (Nersa), the average electricity rise was 12percent this year. Following Eskom's successful negotiations for an additional tariff increase, Nersa has allowed municipalities to raise their electricity prices by another 20,6percent in the coming months.

This means many households will see electricity go from about 44 cents per kilowatt-hour to nearly 50 cents per kilowatt-hour on this month's bill, with a further jump to about 60 cents per kilowatt-hour in October's bill.

Buffalo City's municipality said it had not raised its prices yet, so residents in East London are likely to be hit by the total 32,6percent electricity hike in one swoop in the coming months.

Tshwane raised its electricity prices 12percent on July 1, while Johannesburg electricity bills have gone up by 19percent.

This is because about a fifth of the city's power is supplied by Kelvin Power Station rather than Eskom, and Kelvin has raised its prices by 49percent to cover soaring coal prices.

Pikitup, which handles Johannesburg's refuse removal, has negotiated its rates up nearly 30percent plus a R10 per household charge.

Johannesburg bills will see water go up eight percent, with a steep increase expected next year.