MUNICIPALITY RESPONDS: August increases spark outrage – (Must Read)

August increases have residents shaking their heads.

The municipality has supplied response to the Newcastle Advertiser front page story this week.

Unfortunately, the response missed the deadline for going to print, but has been printed below:

“The increased municipal bills are firstly as a result of the implementation of the new tariffs for electricity and water the 2018/ 2019 financial year. These tariffs are implemented for the July consumption which are reflected on the end of August municipal bill. The billing is in arrears therefore meters that are read during the month of July are only reflected on the consumers August statement. These municipal bills are payable by 07 September 2017,” explained Director of Financial Management, Asha Haripersad.

She explained no route was averaged from last year, and said the municipality had committed itself to continuing this trend.

ALSO READ: MUST READ: Increase in municipal account sparks outrage among residents

Haripersad added rates, sewer and refuse tariffs and water availability charges increased by just over seven cent as of July 1, 2018, and these increases were included in the July municipal bill.

Electricity charges increased by eight per cent and were also reflect in the August bills.

“The other reason for the increased municipal bill is a direct result of the increase in the consumption of electricity by households.  The electricity charge on the August bill is for consumption in July, which is the coldest period in winter; it is also during the school holiday period where the electricity consumption is higher due to the children being at home.”

Haripersad said there was a historic trend reflected in the increase in electricity consumption from May to August of every year.

This increase was said to be the direct result of colder weather during those months, with changes in temperature directly affecting ‘daily habits, which in turn increases the consumption of electricity…’

Factors contributing to increased consumption were listed as :

  • Switching on lights earlier in the mornings and evenings.
  • Geysers having to use more electricity to heat colder ground water.
  • The increased consumption of appliances, and food taking longer to cook and heat.
  • The tendency of people to use hot water to rinse dirty dishes in winter, brush their teeth and when taking a shower.

Haripersad said these patterns increased consumption of electricity even before heaters, air conditioners and electric blankets were factored in.

“Consumers are advised to try to minimise their electricity usage by making small changes to their daily activities especially during the winter months to help reduce their municipal bill.”

Provided tips included switching off lights and air cons when not in use, using a washing machine and dishwasher only for full loads, and ensuring the geyser thermostat was functioning correctly.

Haripersad also provided a table to show a direct correlation between consumption of electricity and temperature.

She said a consumer account was taken at random to illustrate this:

Month Average daily high temperatures Average daily low temperatures Electricity Consumption (KWH) Jan 2015 – Dec 2015 Electricity Consumption (KWH)

Jan 2016 – Dec 2016

Electricity Consumption (KWH)

Jan 2017 – Dec 2017

Electricity Consumption (KWH)

Jan 2018 – July 2018

January 31 degrees 15 degrees 555 446 578 607
February 30 degrees 15 degrees 343 412 525 616
March 28 degrees 14 degrees 449 422 596 564
April 26 degrees 11 degrees 457 461 485 702
May 24 degrees 5 degrees 619 521 714 775
June 22 degrees 3 degrees 835 995 1301 995
July 22 degrees 2 degrees 1088 1147 1349 1243
August 25 degrees 7 degrees 1073 1290 1518 1115
September 27 degrees 10 degrees 969 1125 1374
October 28 degrees 13 degrees 736 794 836
November 29 degrees 14 degrees 383 687 847
December 30 degrees 15 degrees 414 683 945

 

Haripersad said the statistical information was taken from www.myweather2.com, and stated comparisons to other similar websites yielded the same statistics.

ALSO READ: WATCH: Community marches to Town Hall in protest against rates

“One needs to bear in mind that electricity consumption is billed a month in arrears, i.e. the consumption in June is levied in July. As per the table above, the winter months’ temperatures are reflected in the months from May until August and hence reflected in the June until September electricity consumption (in red).”

She provided a second table showing the average winter and summer temperatures in respect of the above table:

Year Average summer electricity consumption (Kwh) Average winter electricity consumption (Kwh)
2015 495 991
2016 553 1139
2017 691 1386

 

“As per the above tables, it is clear there is an inverse relationship between the temperatures we experience in Newcastle and the consumption of electricity. The lower the temperatures, the higher the electricity consumption and the higher the temperatures, the lower the electricity consumption. The trend follows the similar pattern over the period from January 2015 until July 2018. This is the case for most of our consumers when one looks at consumption history, provided the number of people living in the household and other variables are constant over the said period.”

A third table reflects the amounts paid to Eskom in respect of the electricity consumption:

Month Amount paid to Eskom

2016 Financial Year

Amount paid to Eskom

2017 Financial Year

Amount paid to Eskom 2018 Financial Year
July 58 328 215 58 941 955 55 561 988
August 44 284 646 52 454 664 52 399 859
September 32 116 398 36 685 798
October 35 075 149 72 985 082 (two months together) 37 074 298
November 33 753 762 38 214 077 33 914 574
December 32 034 696 35 014 189 29 893 083
January 31 753 875 35 673 110 25 691 913
February 30 003 087 35 486 066 34 004 567
March 34 127 310 38 113 674 33 441 360
April 32 380 722 33 761 884 29 195 640
May 36 157 557 38 748 009 28 445 420
June 50 665 642 55 296 006 53 526 256

 

According to Haripersad, the table reflected amounts paid to Eskom for actual consumption in that month i.e. the month of July reflected amounts paid for the actual consumption of electricity for July.

The table also reflected the municipality paid more to Eskom during the winter months (in red).

“The above analysis reflects there are no conspiracy theories in respect of the monthly billing, and that they are reflective of the electricity being consumed by households. Newcastle experiences a severe drop in temperatures during the winter period, which lasts for a period of approximately four months and thereafter the temperatures normalise for the other eight months of the year,” she concluded.

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You can also email our offices on Reveshni Douglas at [email protected] or [email protected] Bruce Douglas at [email protected] Tersia Gopi at [email protected] Zianne Leibrandt at [email protected]

  AUTHOR
Bruce Douglas
Journalist

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