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Johannesburg to Buy Excess Electricity From Residents and Businesses




The Johannesburg Metropolitan Municipality plans to begin accepting surplus-generated electricity from registered customers as early as September, according to Thami Mathiso, the GM of revenue management at City Power as reported by The Citizen.

Following the lead of Cape Town, Johannesburg aims to purchase extra electricity produced by households and businesses with rooftop solar panels for integration into the grid. Participants will receive credits on their electricity accounts. Households and small businesses will be reimbursed approximately 85.5c/kWh, while businesses generating over 9kW will receive 71c/kWh.

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Thami Mathiso, the general manager for revenue management at City Power, shed light on how the initiative will function. City Power seeks to harness the power generation capabilities of residents who have installed any type of power generation on their properties. They can sell a surplus to the city if they produce a surplus.

When a household with solar panels generates more electricity than it consumes, the excess power will be fed back into the system. City Power is currently investing in bidirectional meters, which can measure both the customer’s power usage from the grid and the power sent into the grid. These meters will enable accurate billing, with customers being charged for their usage while also receiving credit for the energy they sell back to City Power.


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The city’s responsibility is to install bidirectional meters, and residents do not need to bear any associated costs. If a resident applies for the program and does not have a smart meter, City Power will replace the old meter with a smart meter as long as the resident’s power generation unit complies with the requirements set by the City of Johannesburg.

The tariff for electricity sold back to City Power will be around 85.5c/kWh for households and small businesses. Thami Mathiso explained that this rate is based on Eskom’s peak tariff, with some additional markup. As the city procures most of its energy from Eskom, the tariff for customers selling back excess power aligns with what the city pays Eskom as a supplier.

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Regarding the initiation timeline, the feed-in tariff has already been approved and published as part of the tariff promulgation. While the tariff officially came into effect on July 1, the system is currently being established. City Power aims to operationalise the initiative by September 1 or even earlier.


In contrast to the City of Cape Town, which provides cash payments for electricity, Johannesburg will credit the amount to the customer’s electricity account. Thami Mathiso acknowledged the potential for changes to the model as the industry evolves, allowing for increased flexibility. Currently, the primary method is crediting the customer through the bill, but improvements are expected to make the process more efficient.

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The initiative also extends to prepaid customers. Upon choosing to sell back electricity to the city, customers with prepaid meters will have them replaced with bidirectional meters. This allows City Power to credit the customer accordingly on their bill.

The voluntary registration process, which started three years ago, has resulted in 416 customers registering so far. However, more customers are expected to come forward as awareness of the initiative spreads.

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City Power has identified approximately 90 megawatts of installed capacity from registered small businesses and residential customers. This capacity could potentially eliminate one stage of load shedding in Johannesburg. As more customers participate, it is hoped that additional stages of load shedding can be averted.

Thami Mathiso expressed enthusiasm for the initiative and emphasised the importance of registration and customer engagement. The municipality is actively working on improving the process to maximise its benefits for both customers and the city’s energy resources.

Thami Mathiso, the GM for revenue management at City Power, thanked Ryk van Niekerk for the interview and provided valuable insights into the initiative.

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