3 Ways to Hack Electricity In South Africa

3 min read

Electricity prices just seem to be skyrocketing and trying to decipher how many units you’ll actually get for what you spend is harder than figuring out how Kim and Pete are together. 

So here’s the low-down on how to hack the prepaid electricity system and get the most bang for your buck. 

How much does prepaid electricity actually cost? 

Firstly, it’s important to know that there’s no set fee for prepaid electricity across SA. Tariffs vary from one municipality to another and the way Eskom charges different cities and municipalities also plays a role in how you, as the consumer, gets charged. 

A while back, Eskom introduced a block system as a way to make electricity affordable for those who use little and also discourage high consumption. The first block of electricity is at the lowest price. As you buy more electricity during the month, the electricity bought will eventually fall in block two, which is more expensive.

In a nutshell, the more electricity you buy in a month, the more you pay and the less you get.

Hack 1: Buy your electricity through your Spot app! 

Most service providers will charge you an additional service fee to buy prepaid electricity through their app or at their store. 

Here at Spot, we don’t add on any sneaky fees for buying electricity, airtime or data! 

That means, whatever you purchase, you get 100% back in electricity, with no hidden fees. 

Hack 2: Buy electricity at the start of the month.

Every month, your electricity usage is ‘reset’ and you’ll start off the new month in block 1. 

Block 1 has the lowest rate, so you’ll get the most units back in return for what you spend, but if you buy too much electricity, you’ll get pushed into block 2, which is more expensive.

Electricity is one of the rare cases where it’s really not a good idea to buy in bulk. Ultimately, you want to save money by only buying enough electricity that you’ll need for the month so that you can stay in block 1. It’s cheaper to top up with a few units at the end of each month than to buy enough to last you for 2 or 3 months.

Hack 3: Buy your electricity from week to week.

Because the cost of electricity has nothing to do with how much you actually use each month and is based on how much you buy, it’s a good idea to make smaller, more frequent purchases so that you can keep track of your usage. 

As you get to know your usage better and how much you’d typically use in a month, you can make bigger purchases less often and still make sure you aren’t getting pushed into the higher, Block 2 tariff. 

It might take you a few months to figure out how much electricity is just right for you, so keep a note on your phone that you can reference from month-to-month.


The content provided in this article is provided as general information. It is not intended as nor does it constitute financial, tax, legal, investment, or other advice. We accept no responsibility from any loss arising as a result of your reliance on information contained in this article, any related communication or on our app.