By the Newsletter Team

A regular Paddocks Press reader, Sara McMath, has drawn to our attention serious issues she and other ESKOM users are facing in some sectional title complexes. Sara says that in March or April of this year Eskom announced their rate increase and the new usage “inclining block tariffs” – which means that the more you use, the more you pay for each unit of electricity. Sectional Title Complexes were encouraged to phone 0860037566 to arrange for a special sectional title tariff – this application must be made before the end of September 2010.

Sara says that the problem is that many complexes’ electricity bills are charged as a single unit and thus the highest per-unit tariff applies. The “inclining tariff” has been applied to Sara’s complex, which means that all the electricity for the complex is added together and charged at a higher – inclining – rate (which then gets split between the units) as though the complex were only one residence. Residents are paying up to 70% more than they should.

Information and applications for conversions can be obtained at any Eskom walk-in centre or the contact centre (08600 37566) – but bear in mind the cut off date!

We have established a platform to discuss this issue on our Facebook discussion forum. Please click here to comment on this matter.

Here is the full story in Sara’s words.

Hi, Sara McMathI truly hope you can help us and the thousands of other sectional title residents that do not have pre-paid meters. This is our story.
In March or April when Eskom announced their rate increase and the new usage “inclining block tariffs” in the “CONNECT” flyer that they include in their monthly bill, it contained a statement that if you are a sectional title complex you should phone 0860037566 to arrange for a special sectional title tariff. We did that and had no call-back reply as promised, but then on May 12 received an email from Eskom regarding the process for applying for the tariff change. The email stated clearly that Eskom would change the tariff at their convenience but that it must be applied for within 6 months because after that no further accommodation for complexes would be made.
One problem with this is that most complex residents who don’t have pre-paid meters never see their Eskom bill – it arrives at the managing agent or whoever pays the bills, is handed off to a clerk who looks at the amount owing and pays it. When I asked to see our account, only then did I see that the “inclining tariff” was applied as though we were only one residence. The up to 50kWh at 52 cents is divided between all the units, the up to 350kWh at 56 cents is again divided between all the units, as is the 350-600kWh at 74 cents and everything above that at 83 cents. If you are single residential and use 400kWh (a very conservative amount) you would pay somewhere around R200. But if you allocate equally all the lower amounts to all of the units in a sectional title complex without pre-paid meters then you are almost immediately at the highest tariff and will pay around R328 – NEARLY 70% MORE. By their very nature, most of the sectional title complexes in the area are made up of predominately lower-income families – young families on their way up or retired older couples who need to downsize. And they are sitting with a certainly unfair and probably illegal tariff schedule.
When I realized what was happening, checked my other complex accounts and found that they were the same, I began calling Eskom to follow the protocol set out in the email, to no avail. In the meantime, probably tired of my lack of success, the managing agents for one of the complexes also started campaigning to Eskom for implementation of the correct tariffs, but with no success.
I have probably waited too long to write to you as the 6-month period for changing is up in a few more days. We have no idea whether Eskom will honour the fact that we have tried to apply within the mandatory period or not. What will happen to all of the complexes that aren’t even aware of the alternative tariffs, I don’t know – they will forever pay the extra 70%.
But the sickest thing is that most sectional title residents, in the Bellville area or across the Western Cape, or maybe even in the whole of our Republic, aren’t even aware that they are not only being ripped off with the huge annual increase but that they are using less but paying 70% more for their electricity than those who can afford and have single residential homes.
Sara McMath
Article reference: Paddocks Press: Volume 5, Issue 9, Page 2
This article is published under the Creative Commons Attribution license.