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Joburg suspends prepaid electricity surcharge after outcry

Jul 09 2019 11:04
Fin24

The City of Johannesburg announced on Tuesday that it will not be implementing a fixed surcharge for prepaid electricity which was adopted by the city council.

The surcharge of R200 per month for prepaid residential, and R402 per month for business prepaid customers was approved by the city council as part of its annual tariff increases.

The goal of the surcharge was to align prepaid tariffs with conventional tariffs. It was due to be implemented on July 1, 2019.

In a statement on Tuesday, however, the city said it the surcharge had been suspended pending further engagement with stakeholders.

Councillor Funzela Ngobeni, a member of Johannesburg's Mayoral Committee for Finance, said that consumers were already burdened by increasing interest rates, pressure on disposable household income and a sluggish economy.

"We heard the voices of the customers through submissions made during the public meetings. While we consider the tariffs to be cost-reflective, we cannot ignore the calls for relief by our residents," said Ngobeni.

"Following significant consultation, we have addressed the issues through increased internal efficiencies and passed this benefit onto our consumers."

According to City Power, the agency which distributes electricity,  the surcharge was adopted by the City of Johannesburg Council "to address the anomaly between prepaid tariffs and conventional tariffs".

"Due to this anomaly the residential prepaid tariff was historically cheaper than the conventional tariff."

The agency stated that the suspension was meant to allow further consultations between City Power, customers and stakeholders on how best to address the imbalance.

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