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Why are we paying so much for electricity in South Africa?

Electricity price increase history for South Africa

In 2008 Eskom began a series of steep increases far in excess of inflation, with claims that this was needed to improve infrastructure and much needed maintenance on the systems.  How has this influenced the cost of electricity over the years?  What does this mean to the electricity price South Africa?

2008 – 27.5 percent – R100 electricity now costs R127.50

2009 – 31.3 percent – the same amount of electricity now costs R167.41

2010 – 24.8 percent – the same amount of electricity now costs R208.92

2011 – 25.8 percent – the same amount of electricity now costs R262.83

2012 – 16 percent – the same amount of electricity now costs R304.88

2013 – 8 percent – the same amount of electricity now costs R329.27

2014 – 8 percent – the same amount of electricity now costs R355.61

2015 – 12.69 percent – the same amount of electricity now costs R400.74

In 2015 Eskom asked for an additional power price increase of 12.61 percent for a total increase of 25.3 percent.  This additional increase was declined, but the 12.69 percent increase had already been approved and went ahead.

2016 – 9.4 percent – the same amount of electricity now costs R438.41


This is an effective 438% increase in 8 years, which has hit the South African consumer and industry hard.

When does this increase occur?  Usually this increase occurs on 1 April for clients billed directly by Eskom or on 1 July for clients billed by their local Municipality.

Do other services also get increased?  Typically all services are increased around this time, including rates, water, refuse, sewer, etc.  These items are not increased by the same percentage as electricity.


Update to blog 14 September 2016

More recently, we stumbled upon this table that shows additional information on the rate of increases of services.  Please use as a guideline, as there may be other factors involved (stepped rates that increase as usage increases, water restriction tarrifs, winter rates for electricity, etc, to name a few).

Tarrif increases below as of July 2016.

City / % Increase Rates Water Electricity Refuse Sanitation
Johannesburg 5,9 13,2 6,9 6 13,9
Cape Town 6 9,75 7,78 5,38 9,75
Ethekwini 6,9 12,5 7,64 7,9 9,9
Tshwane 10 12 9,5 10 12


Other factors that could affect your monthly bill, which we have noticed recently is:  estimated or actual readings done for a period of 45 days or more.  Thus your bill is effectively a bill for one and a half month consumption, instead of one month consumption.  Please check your reading dates (start date and end date, or previous reading date and current reading date) and determine how many days the actual reading or estimated reading is for.



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