Tariff hikes come into effect
GRAAFF-REINET —The accounts that residents of the Dr Beyers Naude Local Municipality areas have recently received reflect the increased prices of rates and services.
The Council has endeavoured to keep tariff charges affordable.
The tariff structures of the former municipalities were different, and continue to be different, but the Mayor explained at a meeting earlier this year that tariff stabilisation and uniformity will be phased in over the next three years.
“We are coming from different municipalities where different socio-economic circumstances prevailed. In these different municipalities, different policies and tariffs were used and this is reflected in the budget” said Mayor de Vos.
The electricity price increases are foremost in most people’s minds, and it is unfortunate that these increases always come into effect during the coldest months of the year, when most households’ consumption is at its highest. Although tabled as being effective from July 1st, in practice the new tariffs apply from the date of the June reading (usually around the middle of the month).
A closer look at the new rates shows a modest increase in electricity charges of approximately 1.88% in most areas. In the former Camdeboo and Ikwezi areas, there is a block system in place, whereby each unit of electricity used is not charged at the same rate. The more electricity that is used, the higher the price per unit.
In Graaff-reinet, Aberdeen and Nieu Bethesda, looking at the rates for domestic metered consumers in town, the first 50 units (block 1) are charged at R1.02 per unit (including VAT). From 51 to 350 units, the charge is R1.27 - an increase of 25% per unit over the block 1 price. A further hike of 28% applies for the next 250 units in block 3 used (R1.63 per unit), and if a household uses more than 600 units, each unit is then charged at R1.89 – a whopping 85% more per unit than the first fifty units! It obviously pays to try to use as few units in these top blocks as possible.
Using these increases, this means for example that a household using 700kwh in a month can expect to pay about R1 030, which is about R17 more per month.
In the former Ikwezi municipal area, the unit cost in each block is similar, except for block 4 (over 600 units), where the cost is R2.08 per unit. This is double the cost per unit charged for the first 50 units.
So a 700 unit per month household in Jansenville will pay almost R1100 - about R70 more than in Graaff-reinet.
In the former Baviaans district, most customers are on prepaid electricity, but those on a metered system pay a fixed rate of R1.42 per unit. A customer in Willowmore, for example, will pay the least for the 700 units, at just under R1 000.
In all areas, property rates, water, refuse, sanitation and other small tariffs have all increased by 6.4%
Refuse costs for residential properties in the former Camdeboo have increased to R57.22 per month, which means an extra R3 per month. Sanitation costs increase to R89.30 per month, just under R6 more than before.
Water rates are calculated on a sliding scale in all three areas, although the number of units in each block differs in the different areas. In the former Ikwezi, residents still get the first 10 kl free –this concession was discontinued in Camdeboo a year ago.
Customers who use a large amount of water will pay dearly for the extra kilolitres used, as the rate per kilolitre with high consumption is considerably higher - almost three times the basic rate for the former Camdeboo. This should serve as a clear reminder to fix any water leaks as soon as possible!
Property rates have increased again this year, with the new rate for the former Camdeboo being 0.72c for every rand value of the property for residential properties. As an example, a property valued at R500 000 will be liable for R3 600 per year, or R300 per month. Property rates in the former Baviaans Municipality are now 0.69c for every R1, making the rates for the R500 000 property up to R3 450 per year or R287.50 per month. In the former Ikwezi, rates are calculated at 1.95c per rand value, more than double the rates in the other areas. The R500 000 property here will be charged at R9 750 for the year, or R812.50 per month. One reason for this anomaly could be that property assessments in the former Ikwezi have apparently not been done for many years, therefore the rateable values used are considerably under the true values of the properties. The Municipality was approached for a comment in this regard but were unable to give a satisfactory explanation. A resident of Jansenville did, however, confirm that properties in the area had not been reassessed for a very long time.