How much prepaid electricity will cost in South Africa after the 2024 price hikes

 ·22 Jan 2024

South Africans using prepaid electricity should expect a significant increase in their monthly bill from April this year.

Last year, the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (NERSA) approved Eskom price increases of 18.65% for 2023/24 and a 12.74% increase that will start in April 2024.

This comes despite Eskom’s continuous failure to provide a reliable electricity supply. Although 2024 is not expected to suffer the same severity in load shedding as 2023, energy experts have warned that load shedding is not going away anytime soon amid the poor performance of the nation’s coal-fired power stations.

The price hike is expected to take the average electricity tariff in South Africa from roughly R1.84 per kWh to around R2.07 per kWh. This average reflects the national average – local municipal prices will differ, and urban customers who consume power in higher blocks will pay more than this.

Since load shedding started in 2008, electricity increases have grown by 450% – far higher than the 98% inflation over the same period. With the upcoming increase, this figure is expected to balloon further.

How much South Africans will pay is dependent on what kind of electricity customer they are. Eskom has published its fee adjustments for 2023/24. A fee calculator and a comparison tool are also available. As the upcoming fee changes for 2024/25 are not functional, we have used our own calculations to see how much more South Africans could be spending.

In 2023/24, an average Eskom customer using 200 kWh per month in urban Gauteng would have seen their monthly power bill increase by 18.68% from R590 to R700.

With the 12.74% increase, these power users can expect to spend R790 for 200 kWh per month from April this year.

2022/23Tariff Increase %2023/24Tariff Increase %2024/25


Although municipalities bill their customers at different rates – and usually do so at a later date (July) – they tend to be based on Eskom’s increases.

Cape Town’s electricity prices increased by 17.6% on 1 July 2023. Should prices rise by Eskom’s upcoming tariff increase, it will be just over R1 more expensive (R790.98).

Johannesburg’s City Power uses a block system, where Block 1 (0-350kWh) offers the cheapest power, which then slowly climbs in price with further usage. When using block 1, residents in Johannesburg pay over R200 less than their Mother City counterparts.

eThekwini’s 18.49% increase last year was incredibly close to Eskom’s. However, unlike Johannesburg and Cape Town, the KZN metro already has pencilled in an increase for 2024/25 of 10.11%. However, the R789.88 for 200 kWh for eThekwini is in line with Eskom’s upcoming price increase.

City2022/23Tariff Increase %2023/24Expected Tariff Increase %2024/25 (est)
Cape TownR610.0817.6%R701.6012.74%~R790
Joburg (Block 1)R419.4514.97%R482.3412.74%~R540

Questions over the increase

Amidst heightened load shedding and the cost of living crisis, there have been legal challenges over the increases approved by Nersa.

In December last year, the High Court of South Africa rejected the requests for a judicial review of the revenue decision and tariff approval made by Nersa concerning Eskom’s fifth MultiYear Price Determination (MYPD5) application for the 2023/24 and 2024/25 fiscal years.

This came after applications from the Democratic Alliance (DA) and the South African Local Government Association (Salga) to review Nersa’s decisions.

The High Court said that “when all is considered and the detailed and extensive reasons furnished by Nersa is compared with the attacks on its decisions, none of the review grounds pass muster.”

However, Eskom has failed to meet several of the critical conditions placed on it by Nersa in line with the MYPD5.

Independent energy analyst Pieter Jordaan said that due to the high cost of diesel to run Open Cycle Gas Turbines (OCGTs), an average utilisation rate – A.K.A load factor – of 1% is seen as the utility-scale standard for this energy supply.

Nevertheless, Nersa related the load factor to 6% due to Eskom’s price determination due to the bleak supply situation.

As per the relaxations, Eskom had to reduce its breakdowns (UCLF) from 31% (2022/23 FY) to 20% and improve the Energy Avaialby Factor (EAF) from 57% (2022/23 FY) to 65%.

The embattled power utility has failed to meet these targets in 2023/24, with the UCLF at 33% and EAF at 55%, according to the latest data.

What’s worse is that the OGCT load factor stands at 20%.

However, Eskom has failed to meet these conditions for the 2023/24 financial year, with UCLF averages at 33% and EAF at 55%. Meanwhile, the OCGT load factor stands at 20%.

Breakdowns (UCLF)20%33%
Energy availability (EAF)65%55%
OCGT Load factor6%20%

Read: The only reason South Africa isn’t at stage 5 load shedding right now

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