The Dos and Don’ts of Prepaid Electricity in South Africa
With a 9.61% increase approved for Eskom’s electricity tariff in 2022/23, you’re probably looking for ways to reduce your power consumption to avoid spending more on buying utilities. Home+ is here to help. Manage your electricity usage with a trusted brand, take a look at this handy guide of dos and don’ts for prepaid electricity users in South Africa.
When is the best time to buy prepaid electricity?
Contrary to popular belief, the cost of prepaid electricity units does not change during the month. Instead, it changes depending on your consumption. This is because of Eskom’s Inclining Block Tariff. Using this cost model, you will pay a lower price to purchase prepaid electricity up to the point of 350kWh. Once you’ve reached this point and you want to recharge with more electricity, you’ll move into Block 2 which is slightly higher in price. Block 3 is the highest rate for prepaid electricity, and you are moved into this tariff block once your consumption has passed 600kWh for the month.
- Buy more than you use in one month. With Eskom’s inclining block tariffs, you’ll land up paying more in one month if you purchase more than you need.
- Bulk-buy for more than a month. In other words, if you buy enough prepaid electricity units to last for six months, you’ll land up paying way more than you would have, if you’d made those purchases monthly, over six months.
- Forget that there is a monthly service fee charged by your municipality (usually on your first recharge of the month) so you should factor this in when budgeting for prepaid electricity purchases.
- Buy your prepaid electricity at the beginning of the month, for that month.
- Wait until the beginning of the following month before making another purchase to recharge your prepaid electricity meter.
Buy your prepaid electricity on the Home+ app, where you’ll earn rewards for your purchases, giving you great value for money.
How does an electricity prepaid meter work?
A prepaid electricity meter gives consumers the ability to use electricity on a pay-as-you-go basis. This means you pay only for what you use, and that you cannot use what you don’t pay for. A smart prepaid electricity meter measures exactly how much power your household draws, and then deducts this usage from the prepaid credit balance that you load onto the meter.
- Keep an eye on your prepaid electricity meter consumption and credit balance, so you don’t burn through your prepaid credit faster than expected.
- Learn how to use your smart prepaid electricity meter properly – there should be a sticker on the meter with a list of short codes (3 digit codes) for various functions, such as balance check, meter status and total power consumption. This gives you useful information into how much electricity you’re using, and when.
- Worry about submitting meter readings to the council, or letting meter readers into your property. This is only necessary for post-paid conventional electricity metering.
- Stress about bill shocks at the end of the month, because with prepaid electricity, you cannot use more than you’ve budgeted for.
Forget what happens when prepaid electricity runs out. Your power supply will be disconnected if the balance drops below 0. So when planning to go away, you should recharge with enough prepaid electricity credit to ensure your power isn’t cut off..
How to slow down a prepaid electricity meter
The more electricity your household is using, the faster your prepaid electricity credit will get used up. Therefore, to slow down your prepaid electricity meter, you will need to use less power.
- Leave your geyser on 24/7. The geyser accounts for at least 40% of your power consumption, so if you control this, you can reduce your consumption and slow your meter.
- Leave any appliances, chargers or lights plugged in or switched on if they’re not in use.
- Learn to identify the power-hungry appliances in your home, so you can manage their usage properly.
- Research ways to reduce electricity consumption, which is the best way to spend less on prepaid electricity and save money in the long run.
Consider making your geyser a smart geyser, which will give you ultimate control over your hot water requirements and water heating expenses.
Interested in learning more? Take a look at this smart guide to prepaid electricity in South Africa. Don’t forget that you can handle all of your online utilities purchases – both prepaid electricity and water – safely and conveniently right from the Home+ app.
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