THE municipality’s new Inclining Block Tariffs (IBT) system necessitates high electricity consuming households to change their behaviour to conserve power or be penalised by paying more.
The municipality held a media information session at City Hall yesterday to explain the new system after the new tariffs were implemented on Sunday.
Assistant director of revenue Johan van Vuuren, who manages the prepaid electricity system on behalf of the municipality, said with IBT the onus was on the consumer to conserve electricity or be charged higher tariffs for increased consumption.
"It means more work for the consumer who now has to manage his account more closely than before. He has to watch his consumption every month and also watch how many purchases he makes in one month or he will pay an increased tariff,” Van Vuuren said.
The IBT is designed in such a way that the more electricity one consumes, the higher the average price, on a monthly basis. The tariff structure is divided into three consumption blocks; each successive block has a higher price per kWh of energy.
The new tariff, which applies to consumers on conventional and prepaid meters, charges 91c for consumers who use less than 350kWh per month. Consumers who remain between 350kWh and 600kWh per month are charged R1.09 per month. Consumers who use 600kWh and more per month will be charged R1.29 per unit. All prices exclude VAT.
According to Van Vuuren, only 10% of domestic consumers in Nelson Mandela Bay consume more than an average of 660kWh per month, which means the increase in the majority of electricity accounts will be less than 11%.
"With prepaid meters the system works on how much you buy while the credit meter works out your consumption for the month and you are charged accordingly.
"If you have a prepaid meter and you normally buy R500 a month and you need to buy again you should try to wait until the following month, because the system memorises your previous purchase and you will be charged the increased tariff.”
He said prepaid customers who were running low and needed to buy more electricity before the start of the new month should buy just enough to last them until the new month starts again.
Van Vuuren said IBT was only for domestic consumers; businesses would still be on the original tariff system.
He said there were about 90000 indigent customers in the metro who will receive their first 75 units for free.