Photo by Buziwe Nocuze
  • South Africa's poor households are entitled to a free allocation of electricity every month.
  • According to Eskom, those earning less than R3,500 a month can apply.
  • Hundreds of thousands of households are not claiming their free power.
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Since 2003, South Africa’s poorest households are entitled to a monthly allocation of free electricity – but hundreds of thousands are not claiming it.

Last year, Eskom said that 900,000 customers are registered for free basic electricity, but only 700,000 people were using  their free power vouchers every month.

Those who qualify as part of the free basic electricity (FBE) programme will receive 50kWH or 60kWH per month, depending on the municipality. Eskom says the FBE allocation should be enough to cover basic lighting, basic media access, basic ironing and boiling water using an electric kettle.

Who qualifies?

While the criteria for the FBE is understood to differ between municipalities, Eskom told MyBroadband this week that to qualify for free basic electricity, households must earn R3,500 per month or less.

How to apply

Customers who believe they may qualify must visit their municipal office or contact their ward councillor or community representative. You can also call Eskom on 0860037566 to confirm.

How it works

Once registered with Eskom, successful applicants will be able to collect vouchers every month from prepaid electricity vendors. These vouchers become available on the first of every month.

Only one FBE voucher per meter is accepted per month, and households must use the voucher in that month or it will expire.

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