Dissemination of free basic electricity in low-income settlements

Daniel M. Masekameni, Kevin K. Kasangana, Tafadzwa Makonese, Thokozani P. Mbonane

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


This paper evaluates the implementation of the Free Basic Electricity (FBE) programme in the needy South African households. A total of 4 governmental sites were used to assess the implementation of the FBE programme; while 165 households were surveyed from 2016-2017 to determine the dissemination and use of FBE. The desktop survey revealed that approximately 1.8 million poor South Africans have access to FBE. Furthermore, tariff relief set at 50 kWh based on 2001 household energy survey was found to differ per implementing agency, ranging from 20 kWh-100 kWh. However, no data was available regarding the total number of South African who are energy poor. The survey found that 18% of households are employed, while 82% is unemployed and mainly depend on social grants. Majority of the households cannot afford electricity for cooking and heating, consequently spend over 14% of their income on energy budget which includes a mixture of modern and traditional fuels such as wood, coal and paraffin. A total of 15 (9%) of households are beneficiaries of the FBE; while 91% indicated that they do not know about the tariff relief. Findings from this study suggest the need for an improved public communication strategy, especially in rural areas. It can be recommended that the 50 kWh tariff relief be reviewed to qualify the current household energy needs. Furthermore, enhanced community engagement is recommended in rural settlements to improve clean energy adoption strategies, either energy efficiency or FBE utilisation.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication2018 International Conference on the Domestic Use of Energy, DUE 2018
PublisherInstitute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc.
Number of pages5
ISBN (Electronic)9780994675941
Publication statusPublished - 13 Jun 2018
Event2018 International Conference on the Domestic Use of Energy, DUE 2018 - Cape Town, South Africa
Duration: 3 Apr 20185 Apr 2018

Publication series

Name2018 International Conference on the Domestic Use of Energy, DUE 2018


Conference2018 International Conference on the Domestic Use of Energy, DUE 2018
Country/TerritorySouth Africa
CityCape Town


  • FBE
  • rural settlement
  • tariff relief

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment


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