Desire for control over bills prompts growing demand
ESTATE agents are witnessing an increasing demand for prepaid electricity meters as residents look for increased control over their consumption and bills.
In Cape Town many home owners are letting their homes or self-contained flatlets, and splitting electricity consumption between them, says Michael Bester, senior partner at Tyson Properties on the Atlantic Seaboard and in the City Bowl.
“Prepaid meters help when renting out one or two sections independently of one another,” he says. Although many properties already have them installed, new owners of properties are also asking for them.
In the southern suburbs, Noordhoek and False Bay, landlords and homeowners are also increasingly opting for prepaid meters, says Lorraine Dellbridge, rentals manager in those areas for Lew Geffen Sotheby’s International Realty.
“We don’t as yet have prepaid water meters lthough there are meters which measure consumption, and this is a good way to fairly split the bill on properties with multiple dwellings.”
With prepaid meters, if tenants do not put funds into their meters, they will not get the service. This prevents abuse.
“It also gives landlords peace of mind.”
In addition to residents being able to control their utility spending and use, they can also top up their accounts via their cellphones, says Michela Soukop, national rentals manager for the Soukop Property Group.
They can also buy electricity at supermarkets.
Soukop says although the process through a private vendor is quick, residents needing meters from municipalities can wait up to a year after application to see them installed.
Prepaid water meters may help solve Cape Town’s water crisis by giving residents more control.