Johannesburg residents will be facing an expensive winter if they don’t decrease their electricity usage.
Under the new Time Of Use (TOU) tariffs approved by the national energy regulator and announced by City Power this week, the cost of power will be two-and-a-half times more in peak period in winter than it will be during the peak in summer.
Consumers could curtail their usage by shifting to gas for cooking and heating, introducing solar power, and installing timers to prevent geyser operation during peak periods.
According to City Power, electric water heating and cooking are major contributors to the evening peak demand for power. Consumers could realise greater savings by reducing power consumption ahead of winter, either by using energy- saving appliances or developing greener practices at home.
A typical household will pay up to R262.09 for peak-period consumption in winter under TOU, while it will cost about R109.89 during the same period in summer, the utility said. The residential TOU tariff will initially be introduced to households that are now on City Power’s smart metering system. There are more than 50 000 smart meters installed in households so far.
“Electricity is going to be more expensive in winter with the new tariffs, unless people convert to using gas and other alternatives,” said Paul Vermeulen, City Power’s manager of demand and supply side management. “The whole idea is not for people to change to TOU and do nothing about it. The message is for the consumers to also change their habits. If you don’t, then there is no benefit. This very same system also applies to large power users.”
Vermeulen said this was not a way to make money for City Power because the utility wanted to reduce its purchases of electricity from Eskom during winter periods.
Sicelo Xulu, City Power managing director, said the introduction of the TOU tariff underlined the utility’s commitment to help augment the security of supply and provide a means by which much-needed savings to consumers can be realised. “City Power’s introduction of a time-based tariff system is informed by its commitment to provide services to its hard-pressed consumers by incentivising and rewarding them for changing their usage patterns, while at the same time ensuring security of supply by lessening the pressure on the grid,” he said.
“Load shedding is a fact of life that we have to contend with for the foreseeable future and we need to explore any conceivable solutions to ensure that we keep the lights on.”
Eskom is expected to increase its tariffs by over 8 percent in the next four years in order to fund its infrastructure backlog.
“By opting for alternative energy solutions such as gas and solar, and changing their usage patterns, consumers will be largely insulating themselves from the effects of the increases and the threat of load shedding,” Xulu added.