City of Johannesburg

The City of Johannesburg (and, I believe, Ekhuruleni) are now requiring registering of rooftop PV systems. They recognise that some systems were installed years ago, and they are allowing retrospective registration.

My installer is offering a deal whereby they arrange a site visit from an engineer, production of drawings etc, and manage the whole process for you. This should not cost more than 5K.

I asked them, they said it’s 5K for everything. Well, if that includes all the standing in queues, getting drawings produced, and everything else involved then I don’t think that is that bad a deal.

I always knew that this day would come, that the City would see that solar is not just a few odd balls, but is now a serious presence in the city, and all these systems connected to the grid have to be up to some sort of specification. And there has to be proper metering.

The whole process offered by my installer is on hold over the holidays. The more I speak to them (or depending on who I speak to in the office) the less clarity there is. So at present I am not sure about the following

  1. Can I retain my prepaid meter, or are City Power going to insist on me moving to the reseller’s tariff?
  2. If they are going to insist on the tariff change, then who pays for the meter? If that’s included in the 5K then I’m not too fussed. But is it? (One City Power tech told me that my meter is already equipped for bi-directional metering and needs a firmware change rather than replacement.)

I have decided to accept the offer, though nothing is signed yet, no money has changed hands. If it really is 5K then I’m going to do it and get it over and done with. If there are extras like a new, bi-directional meter, then I … well… ummm…

City Power actually know that I have PV. Or at least I have not witheld that information from them. I have followed two pieces of advice I was given.

1 - from a lawyer - do not volunteer this information, but do not lie about it either.
2 - from a city power contractor - no matter how much credit you have on your pre-paid meter, buy a small amount every 2nd or 3rd month because, in Johannesburg, if you don’t buy a token for three straight months your meter will be flagged for disconnection.

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You only need a new meter if you plan on selling power back to the municipality. Else you will keep the old prepaid meter.

By registering your system they know not to plan for you for a full house of electricity usage.
It’s all about capacity planning for your area’s distribution, transformer, grid connection capacity planning.

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Yes. I don’t think that it’s none of the City’s business if I go solar, especially if I want to retain a grid connection.

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CoJ, I have read for a few years now, if you want to go solar, you shall get a bi-directional meter, whether you are feeding back or not. You have a PAYG meter, need a bidirectional meter now.

Maybe it has changed, I have not read of that yet.

Silly if you ask me. Just do what CoCT is doing … it works.

I am told (I don’t have it in writing) that my meter can already handle bi-directional current flow, but it’s turned off in the firmware. What I don’t know is what happens if they turn that feature on. Can it still run as pre-paid? Now there are two registers and one has to be offset against the other. Maybe it’s impossible?

Currently the meter would punish me if I tried to feed back. Indeed I think it is hurting me to the tune of a few rand each month, but that is nothing compared to the overall saving, and so I grin (broadly) and bear it.

And this should be the end of it I think. If I am a naughty boy and tell them that I don’t want to feed back, but the moment they’re gone I change that setting on the inverter, then I am going to feel pain whilst they get free juice from me. I can’t protest to them because then I have to admit I told them a porkie. So they can’t lose.

What is the situation with pre-paid in COCT? Is there a monthly fixed fee that must be paid? I know they have this in Ekhuruleni.

The big attraction with pre-paid in COJ, and it’s why I went this route some years ago, is that you pay more per unit, but there are no fixed fees (which are now getting near a grand) and so the bit more you pay per unit is more than compensated by the loss of the fixed fees. This is why it’s an increasingly popular option.

If you were on the default post-paid package in COJ and switched to domestic SSEG, then the flat fees would stay the same and you can reduce your bill a bit. IF you don’t have to pay for the bi-directional meter.

If you switch from pre-paid to domestic SSEG then it’s a world of pain.

In terms of meters and tariffs,

i.e. the meter does not necessarily have to change to a bi-directional type if you do not want to export but you will still have to move to a TOU tariff. Technically it should be possible to have TOU tariffs on prepaid but the way the tariff docs read implies that it will not be available on prepaid.

EDIT: (might be of use…?)


To be honest I haven’t seen anything requiring registration from CoJ / City Power (apart from the upcoming sell back to the grid mentioned) and I’d personally stay away from moving to a TOU tariff as that will end up being R1k/month for the connection before any consumption.



So a R886.74/month fixed charge excl / R1019.75/month including VAT.

So it’s again one of those where unless you consume a looooooot there’s no benefit and unless they require / enforce registration and moving to this tarrif I don’t see the need for it.

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Feedback: Wait for the new bidirectional meter, the cheaper one, and their systems to be in place.
Cost: Small monthly admin charge and new unit rate to buy and R1.07 per unit paid to sell back.
Estimated implementation: 2024.

No Feedback: Will have a PAYG meter installed.
Costs: R 252.10 per month connection fee and, for me, R3.08 per unit.
If I feedback, I get charged for it by the PAYG meter, but that is cents on the rand.

+1 with @fredhen - I would personally not yet submit anything to COJ - their systems/processes are too immature and getting free from a billing error will cost you your sanity. Until such time as they give me formal notice to do X or Y (based on updated bylaws etc.) I would wait.

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I’ll also add that I’ve had two visits from City Power since the solar panels have gone up to inspect my meter and have not once been told to register the solar installation / change meter.
Granted it’s on the job card to only inspect for tampering, but they do note that I have solar installed after confirming nothing is tampered on the meter and haven’t mentioned anything about registration.

When City Power decides to make a move, I would bet, same as CoCT, that they would give everyone months of heads-ups followed by a final period during which one will register (… or else) with no fines/repercussions whatsoever.

We were given 3-months in Cpt in 2019 to finally register after months of “talk” of that in the press.

Me like, sit back, relax, and have a beer, it is still a kinda of a holiday.

What I have been “advocating” for years now, is to do it the CoCT installation way … my bet is you would be 95% covered (small T&Cs difference), maybe even 100% sorted WHEN they “come around” and promulgate the new solar bylaws.

That goes for any Munic’s in SA. In place of published bylaws and/or their enforcement, follow the national regulations.

Use it, or not. Just don’t be “that guy” who screams afterward… no one told me!!! :rofl:

Yes… but they did what CoCT always does. They went brutally fair. They make everyone pay it.

In the beginning, they charged R13/day (or around R400 a month) to people on the SSEG tariff. This was because you are using CoCT infrastructure to sell to them. But your <600kWh bracket was made cheaper to compensate for this, so the extra you forked out was actually less than R400 (unless you used significantly less than 600 units a month). In short, the tariff incentivised using at least some electricity.

Then later, they (correctly in my opinion) realised that all the energy cutting people are doing has the same effect: People stop paying for the grid connection. So they instead moved this grid connection fee (Cape Town used to be entirely subsidised from sales) to everyone. They again phased this in by introducing the connection fee, and then taking that from the <600kWh price so that in the first year you paid about the same as before.

So yes, there is a fee… but everyone pays it.

If you go to the SSEG tariff and have the special expensive meter installed, there is a meter reading fee that is added, but it is not very much.

Dit klink soos die wet van die Transvaal.