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Price of electricity per kWh in South Africa in 2022

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The price of electricity per kWh in South Africa in 2022 depends on a number of factors, such as your location and total energy usage.

Overview

A household’s electricity usage is usually measured by the amount of kilowatt hours that it uses per month. However, in South Africa there are no standard tariffs and the price of electricity may differ from household to household depending on several factors.

How electricity usage is measured

The power of electrical appliances is measured in watts and most major household appliances require over 100 watts to work. This is why most households’ electricity usage is measured in kilowatts, because a kilowatt is 1 000 watts.

For Eskom to measure your household or business’s monthly electricity usage, the amount of kilowatts used is multiplied by the amount of hours that each appliance was used for. This is why electricity is measured in kilowatt-hours (kWh).

A practical example of how electricity usage is measured is, if you were to burn a 60-watt light bulb for three hours a day for 30 days, your electricity usage would be as follows:

Kilowatts used by appliance Number of hours per day Number of days used Electricity usage for the month
60-kilowatt Three hours 30 days 5.6 kWh

Price of electricity per kWh in South Africa in 2022

Eskom is South Africa’s energy provider, and it is regulated by the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (NERSA). Eskom determines the energy charge that South African consumers pay for their electricity monthly. Any changes in these tariffs need to be approved by NERSA before they can be implemented.

In the simplest sense, the price of electricity in South Africa or the “energy charge” is determined by the tariff. These tariffs are dependent on how much electricity your household uses, and are divided into different block categories.

Eskom also divides electricity tariffs into different zones, which are determined by how far your house is from the city centre, what time you used the most electricity, and whether you are charged directly or through the municipality.

Changes in pricing for 2022

In 2022, NERSA approved a price increase of Eskom’s tariffs, which claims to balance the interests of the economy, consumers, and the utility.

These changes included the following percentages for 2022 and 2023:

Customer category Date Percentage (%) increase
Local authority tariff charges 1 July 2022 – 30 June 2023 8.61
All tariff charges except the affordability subsidy charge 1 April 2022 – 31 March 2023 9.61
Affordability subsidy charge 1 April 2022 – 31 March 2023 14.26

How South Africa’s prices compare to the rest of the world’s

Although there are many different factors that determine the exact kW/h rate that you will be charged for your electricity usage, a study conducted in 2021 deduced that the average price of electricity in South Africa before the above-mentioned increases was about R2.558 per kWh.

To put this amount into perspective, it is about 45c more than the global average price of electricity, which comes in at about R2.109 per kWh.

This indicates that South Africa’s electricity prices are not exorbitant when you compare them to average global prices, but this price is more expensive than that of other nearby countries such as Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, and Mozambique.

However, since there are so many different factors that determine the actual electricity tariffs of individual households and with the tariff increases of 2022, this average amount may be slightly higher or lower than your household’s exact kWh rate, but it can be used to estimate your household’s monthly electricity bill.

Prepaid electricity prices

Prepaid electricity prices will also vary from one household to the next in South Africa. This variation in pricing is mainly due to three factors, namely:

  • The municipality you are situated in
  • Whether your municipality charges you or you are charged by Eskom directly
  • Which energy consumption block you fall into.

Typically, households that use 0-600kWh fall into block one and are charged less, while households that use over 600kWh are considered part of block two and are charged a higher tariff.

Final thoughts

Your household’s electricity is measured by the amount of kilowatts used for specific periods of time, and what those periods of time are throughout the month. This electricity usage is then used, along with other factors, to determine the appropriate tariff to calculate the price of your normal or prepaid electricity cost each month.

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