Since 2003, South Africa’s poorest households are entitled to a monthly allocation of free electricity – but hundreds of thousands are not claiming it. According to Eskom, those earning less than R3,500 a month can apply. Last year, Eskom said that 900,000 customers are registered for free basic electricity, but only 700,000 people were using their free power vouchers every month.

While the criteria for the FBE is understood to differ between municipalities, Eskom this week announced that to qualify for free basic electricity, households must earn R3,500 per month or less.

Customers who believe they may qualify must visit their municipal office or contact their ward councillor or community representative. You can also call Eskom on 0860037566 to confirm.

Once registered with Eskom, successful applicants will be able to collect vouchers every month from prepaid electricity vendors. These vouchers become available on the first of every month. Only one FBE voucher per meter is accepted per month, and households must use the voucher in that month or it will expire.

Those who qualify as part of the free basic electricity (FBE) programme will receive 50kWH or 60kWH per month, depending on the municipality.