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Mafube Phela! - FAQs

Updated: Mar 15

1. What is the difference between Load Curtailment and Load Shedding?     Load curtailment is an alternative practice that Eskom uses whereby large power users (which could also be made up from a large quantity of smaller users), are directly instructed to reduce their power usage/ demand at certain times via a seperate roster which does not align with the load shedding roster.      Where load shedding is demarcated in power outages of 2 hours at a time, load curtailment is characterised by load reduction sessions of 8 hours at a time. Similar as with loadshedding there are  different stages of load curtailment implemented by Eskom.                                           With this community project, the reduced Eskom supply which may be so required by Eskom, will be supplemented by dispatchable electricity in the form of batteries and diesel generators which will ensure that the lights stay on.        

2. Where is  the dispatchable power kept? Will it be noisy?   The generators (battery and diesel) are located on private property on the outskirt of town. The noise originating from the batteries and diesel generators will hardly be audible as the equipment is housed in noise contained enclosures.                                          


3. Which parts will be fed with batteries versus diesel generators?   RFS sets the dispatchable power to operate as efficiently as possible. The battery and diesel will often operate in tandem to keep the fuel costs to a minimum.                          


4. One generator per substation?      No, not necessarily. This will be determined by the load on each substation. One generator may supply power to many substations. We ultimately expect there to only be 4 diesel engines and two battery packs feeding the entire Frankfort.  

5. Are there costs involved to join?   Indeed, there are. RFS will be incurring significant costs to deploy a sustainable engineering solution to mitigate the effects of load shedding on its end users by acquiring the additional dispatchable power units. For consumers with an average demand of more than 300kWh there will be an initial once-off activation fee, followed thereafter with a monthly subscription charge of 10% levied on the kWh actually used. For consumers with an average energy usage of less than 300kWh, there will only be a monthly charge of 15% on the kWh of electricity used. In this instance, there will be no requirement for the once off activation fee.             

6. What different cost packages are available?      The once off activation fee is based on each user’s electricity use. This means, no one pays for anyone else. Because the monthly subscription charge is based on the amount of energy (KWh) you use, you can limit your costs by simply managing and reducing your own electricity use.

7. Is up-front payment required and how is it calculated?      Only consumers using more than 300 kWh on average per month are required to pay a once-off activation fee.               .   

8. If I cannot afford the up-front payment, are there alternatives?     The upfront activation fee relates to your electricity use over the last 4 years and has been kept to a minimum. Once you have received the amount payable by you and you still have difficulty in making the payment upfront, you could engage with MBF to ascertain whether there is a finance package available.   It must however be noted that the finance options are expensive and electricity users are urged to rather make the once-off payment and thereafter manage their electricity use to keep the lights on at a fraction of what it would have cost otherwise.           

9. And small-scale users? Even those with prepaid meters?   Households with an average usage of less than 300kWh per month, will not be required to pay the activation fee but will contractually agree to pay a monthly subscription fee based on 15% of the electricity used during the month.                                          The 15% monthly subscription fee will be deducted from each electricity purchase made.

10. How will the fee be calculated for township households? There is no difference where the consumer is located, as long as the user is within the municipal areas currently supplied with electricity by RFS.

11. Can you provide examples?   Yes, sure. Bear in mind that cost will in most cases vary according to the consumer’s unique situation. Consumer A, is a small-scale user, a household on prepaid, single-phase supply, whose average usage per month is 290 kWh, and currently pays roughly R2.89     (Vat Excl.) per unit. The customer therefor currently pays 290 x R2.89 = R838.10 for his/her electricity. Also, if loadshedding happens, he must make his own plan or simply stay switched off If this customer has contracted to be part of the community curtailment program, then he/she would have paid R838.10 + 15% (R838.10) = 838.10 + 125.72 = R963.82. Now, the electricity will always remain on. For an extra R125.72 including VAT, Consumer A has no more loadshedding.



Consumer B, is a small business, using electricity in a summer month, on conventional (postpaid), single phase, time-of-use tariffs, whose average monthly usage is 1,062.65 kWh and currently pays R2,900.40 per month excluding VAT on his/her consumption This business has to make a plan because although it pays R3,855.66 for electricity, it has to run its own generator or not do any business. If Consumer B wants to join the community scheme, he will have to pay the following:- A once-off  activation fee of R10,610.91 (Excluding VAT); plus Pay 10% on the energy use portion of the account being 10% x R 2,900.40 (which is the energy component only). This means, Consumer B’s account would go up from R2,900.40 to R3,190.44 for a summer month.                                 For the once off activation fee and R290.04 monthly, the small business is now loadshedding free.


12. How will the roll-out be done? It will be done one substation at a time. The priority is to provide for businesses in the CBD of Frankfort first to make sure jobs aren’t lost. Already completed are the “Stadsaal” substation and “Skoulaan” substations are currently on a trial period and consumers linked to these substations are now load shedding-free. Next up will be whichever community mobilises first. Will it be Van Reenen Substation or Mamelo?  Surrounding towns – Villiers, Tweeling and Cornelia will follow soon.          

13. What timeframe are we looking at? RFS targets the end of November 2024, for completing Frankfort. By this time, Villiers and Tweeling would also already have areas off loadshedding.  This is a tall order but we trust that the community will participate and help to get there towns off load shedding.                     

14. You did say that participation is voluntary. How will those not participating be handled? Those not wanting to participate in this community project will experience load shedding as per the current schedule, together with their neighbours. If a few people out of many don’t want to participate, the whole area will have to remain on load shedding. This is unfortunate but the programme is implemented according to how the electrical cables are routed. We are constrained by the infrastructure in place.        

15. Is there a contract involved? Yes, there is. Because of the considerable expense and effort involved in making this project a reality, a firm commitment is needed from each participant. This requires a 5-year written agreement to fully cover all eventualities and protects both parties; the consumer and service provider. The agreement is available on line – click here.

16. What happens after the 5-year term of the agreement?  After 5 years Eskom’s ability to supply uninterrupted electricity will be reassessed and depending on the conditions at that time, the current agreement may be renewed by all parties or simply carried on month to month or terminated IF Eskom has sufficient electricity to supply.

17. If I move or sell my property, is the agreement transferable? Yes, it is transferable to the new owner of the property or the tenant of the property     . Remember to tell the prospective buyer or tenant that the  property is “load shedding-free” which adds value to the  property and is a great selling point.

18. If load curtailment goes beyond Stage 4, will RFS still supply power or must customers make their own arrangements?    RFS has scoped the contracted dispatchable energy solution up to the specifications of Stage 4 load curtailment. This does not mean that the program will be terminated if in the unlikely event, that Eskom terminates load curtailment for short specific times. For those short specific times, RFS will have to terminate curtailment as per Eskom’s instructions.           

19. What will happen if the load shedding ends before the contract lapses? Will the monthly charges still be applicable? Yes. In the unlikely event that Eskom manages to correct itself, the monthly usage fee will still be utilised for the maintenance costs of the Generators and to cover the implementation cost incurred by RFS in order to provide uninterrupted electricity supply during load shedding periods.            The capital for the engineering solution must be expended upfront by RFS to ensure the capability to mitigate against load shedding is available. If load  shedding ends tomorrow, then the capital expenses already incurred do not disappear. By looking at the tangible facts, we however cannot see that loadshedding is going to disappear anytime soon.  


If you still have a question that is not handled in the FAQs...

Kindly direct your question to us in writing and send it via WhatsApp to 079 145 4295 or an e-mail to info@mafubebf.org  Better still, post your question in the space below.

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