Question NW1747 to the Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy

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27 August 2020 - NW1747

Profile picture: Singh, Mr N

Singh, Mr N to ask the Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy

(1) Whether his department currently provides free basic electricity under programmes other than the Free Basic Electricity programme; if not, why not; if so, (a) to whom and (b) what are the relevant details; (2) whether the installation and maintenance of electricity prepaid meters would be (a) subsidised or (b) free under certain parameters; if not, why not; if so, (i) under what parameters and (ii) what are the relevant details; (3) whether his department prescribes electricity tariffs and rates to municipalities in order to ensure that the most vulnerable and indigent communities receive free basic electricity; if not, why not; if so, (a) in what manner and (b) what are the relevant details?



1. The Department have developed a Free Basic Electricity (FBE) Policy which aims to protect the indigents by provision of lifeline tariff to indigent households as part of government initiative of poverty alleviation. The amount of free basic electricity provided is deemed sufficient to provide basic lighting, basic media access, cooking and basic water heating. The following measures are also available to protect the poor:

  • The Department isfacilitating access to electricity through government subsidised Integrated National Electrification Program (INEP) that is improving the quality of life of all citizens through electricity infrastructure and provision of FBE to indigents;
  • Free connections provided to Eskom’s low consumption residential customers;
  • Lower price increases applied to low consumption domestic customers; and
  • Inclining block tariffs (IBT) prescribed in the Electricity Pricing Policy and being implemented by municipalities.

2. Installation and maintenance of electricity prepaid meters is provided by the utility or distribution licence holder.

3. The Free Basic Electricity Policy provide for targeting of indigents or targeted customers by giving them limited free basic electricity. Municipalities develop indigent register or use targeting criteria as prescribed by the Free Basic Electricity. The proposed level of service is for a grid based system for qualifying domestic customers.Terms of use and distribution are different in every Municipality;however, municipalities restrict FBE to a minimum of 50kwh per household per month as prescribed by the policy homes while other Municipalities uses 20 Amps meters as the qualification criteria for Free Basic Electricity.

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