Consumers move to pre-paid electricity over prices: Eskom

By Drum Digital
16 October 2013

More than 90 percent of Eskom's customers were on pre-paid electricity.

The increases in electricity tariffs since tariff hikes were introduced are causing consumers to switch over to pre-paid electricity, Eskom customer services operations general manager Marion Hughes said on Wednesday.

"The higher tariff has had an impact on the affordability [of electricity]," she said on the sidelines of the Consumer Goods Council of SA summit in Johannesburg.

"The majority of our consumers are residential customers and prefer pre-paid because it gives them control over their consumption and also over their budget, because they do not have to worry about the bill at the end of the month."

Hughes said more than 90 percent of Eskom's customers were on pre-paid electricity.

She said Hughes said 10 or 15 years ago, spending on electricity was not a visible item on people's budgets and that this was one of the reasons more people were opting for prepaid.

The National Energy Regulator of SA announced at the end of February that it was granting an eight percent tariff increase for the next five years.

Eskom had applied for a 16 percent increase in electricity prices in each of the next five years, which would have more than doubled the current price, taking it from 61 cents per kWh in 2012/13, to 128 cents per kWh in 2017/18.

During her presentation to the summit, Hughes spoke about the call centre and said it received six million calls a year.

"About 87 percent of calls are dealt with in 30 seconds," she said.

Eskom had put a lot of money and resources into improving customer service, Hughes said.

She told the summit that Eskom, despite being a utility, was one of the biggest retail companies in the country, with over four million customers.

She said Eskom had a number of service offerings and the customer service was available on various platforms to make it easily accessible.

-by Sapa

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