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Eskom urges eligible households to apply for free electricity

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Power utility raises awareness of the Free Basic Electricity programme, which entitles qualifying households to get 50 kiloWatt hours free electricity a month

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ESKOM has urged qualifying Northern Cape households to apply for free basic electricity.

Eskom spokesperson Stefanie Jansen van Rensburg pointed out on Friday that the Covid-19 pandemic had resulted in large-scale economic downturn, gravely affecting indigent households that were already struggling to pay for basic services. 

“Constitutionally it is imperative that everyone has access to basic services, of which electricity is an important factor,” said Jansen van Rensburg.

She pointed out that the Free Basic Electricity (FBE) policy was a long-standing government initiative aimed at supporting economic development and improving the lives of low-income households. 

“Eligible customers are identified as indigent by the municipality and qualify to receive 50kWh of free electricity once a month. This is considered sufficient to run basic lighting, basic media access, basic ironing and boil water using an electric kettle. Additional usage is paid for by the consumer.”

Jansen van Rensburg stated that it was unfortunate that a large number of indigent households did not exercise their right to collect FBE, either because they were unaware of this benefit or because they had not registered with their municipality. 

“In the Northern Cape, 85% of customers who have been identified as indigent are collecting their FBE.”

She said customers who have been advised by their respective municipalities that they do qualify for the FBE benefit and who are not claiming the benefit monthly to visit their nearest vendor to claim the 50kWh. 

“Alternatively, USSD codes *130*869# or *130*269# are available to already configured customers to claim the benefit via a cellphone at no charge to the customer.”

Eskom supplied customers who wish to ascertain whether they qualify for the FBE benefit should do so by contacting their local municipal office, local ward councillor or a community development worker.