Cape Town offering unprecedented relief for households as Eskom tariff hike commences

05 Jul 2023 in Where We Govern

As Eskom’s tariff hike enters the municipal billing cycle from July, the City of Cape Town is offering unprecedented social relief measures for households in 2023/24. Lifeline Tariff customers will pay significantly less per unit in the 350 – 600 usage band this winter. The City is also protecting all households from Eskom’s 18,5% tariff hike as much as possible, reducing this to 17,6% while still funding a reliable electricity service and plans to end load-shedding. Read more below:

With the City’s special protection, Lifeline Tariff Customers using 350 – 600 units will now pay only R1,84 in this usage band, compared to R3,15 per unit in 2022/23. This will help to protect households using more electricity this winter, while an average usage of 450 units over a 12-month period still applies to remain in this tariff category.

The City has also upped the property value criteria to qualify for the Lifeline tariff, from R400 000 to R500 000. Residents with a property value higher than R500 000 may also still qualify for the Lifeline tariff if their household monthly income is below R7 500.

The City is further expanding the qualifying threshold for pensioners and social grant recipients to benefit from the lifeline tariff and rates rebates, with the qualifying limit now R22 000 monthly income, up from R17 500.

Cape Town aims to steadily lessen Eskom reliance, access more affordable power sources, and end load-shedding over time. The City’s 2023/24 Budget includes a R2,3bn end load-shedding plan to protect against the first four stages of Eskom load-shedding by 2026. This will be achieved via a combination of buying power on the open market and demand management.

In the interim, the City will continue to oppose Eskom’s well-above inflation annual tariff hikes, which we objected to as being unaffordable and unjust during the recent public participation on Eskom tariffs.

Currently, around 70% of the City’s income from the electricity tariff goes towards buying bulk electricity purchases from Eskom, with the remaining 30% going towards delivering a reliable electricity service and plans to end load-shedding.


Total social package now at R4,3bn

The City has increased the total social support package by more than half a billion rand for 2023/24, to R4,3 billion in total for rates and services relief.

The metro continues to offer South Africa’s highest allocation of free water at 15kl, the highest allocation of free sanitation at 10,5kl, and up to 60 free electricity units, the most of all metros linking social relief to property value.

Everyone under the R7 500 monthly household income threshold will get a 100% rebate for property rates and refuse removal, benefitting 192 500 households across Cape Town. Those in residential living units with a property value of R450 000 will also get this benefit.

All residential properties valued at R5 million and under are also receiving a R450 000 reduction in the property valuation for rates calculation purposes. This translates into R450 000 of a residential property valuation not being rated. Over 700 000 properties are expected to benefit, representing 80% of all properties in the city.

Customers who have moved from the Lifeline tariff to the Domestic tariff because their properties are now valued at more than R500 000 after the General Valuation (2022) may, however, qualify for rates rebates, indigent or pensioner support. If they do, they could receive their supply at the Lifeline tariff on application.

Tips to manage household bills

  • Reduce your geyser’s temperature to 60 degrees Celsius to reduce costs
  • Buying electricity in bulk is not cheaper. Rather buy small amounts as required to stay on the cheaper tariff band.
  • Use less, pay less

Residents may qualify for indigent support if they:

  • are a homeowner
  • earn R7 500 or less per month
  • own only one property
  • are the full-time occupant of the home
  • use the home mainly for residential purposes
  • are a child who lives in the home of a parent who has passed away
  • received the house in a divorce settlement
  • depend on a pension or a social grant for their livelihood

Applicants will need:

  • proof of identification (ID book/card or passport)
  • a bank statement for the last three months or a sworn affidavit stating that they do not have a bank account
  • a bond statement for the last three months or a sworn affidavit stating that they do not have a bond account
  • a copy of the estate documents if the applicant has inherited his or her house

If residents are employed, they must also include:

  • latest salary/wage pay slip or a letter from an employer stating their income
  • a sworn affidavit if they are self-employed stating how much is earned per month
  • proof if a disability grant, maintenance grant or pension is received

If residents are unemployed, they must include the following in the application:

  • a sworn affidavit stating that they are unemployed
  • a sworn affidavit stating that they have no other source of income


Useful contacts and information:


For rates or services relief

Pensioner rates relief

For payment arrangements

For a list of the City’s Cash Offices and Walk-in Centres, please visit:


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