Utilities in Cape Town, namely water, rates and refuse are generally included in the rental; only electricity is paid directly by the tenant. All other services, such as telephone, Internet and gas are the responsibility of the tenant and must be set up anew when taking occupation.
Home buyers will need to set up all utility accounts from scratch.
Water is supplied by the Cape Town Municipality
and is charged on a sliding scale according to the amount used, including a free basic allocation. Call 086 010 3089 for water account enquiries. Bills can be paid online, at any Post Office and at most supermarkets. Water quality in cape Town is amoung the highest in the world and tap water is completely safe to drink.
Gas can only be bought or delivered in canister form and is not supplied via pipes as it is in European or American homes. A large 14kg bottle costs around 300 ZAR and can be bought at most petrol stations. Various gas delivery services exist as well.
Electricity is provided by Eskom
, as are the occasional black-outs as demand outstrips supply in the winter months. Consecutive increases in the price of electricity have plagued consumers from 2010, and as a result of poor planning, costs don't look to be decreasing anytime soon.
Supply is either administered through prepay meters topped up by vouchers available at most supermarkets, or tenants can set up an account and opt to receive monthly bills from the municipality.
Telephone and internet
Until recently all telecommunication network infrastructure in Cape Town was reliant on the Telkom network. Though this government parastatal still has a monopoly on service, a new competitor, Neotel, has nearly completed laying lines to complete their own network and provide some form of competition.
Telephone services are provided by one of these two operators, and even if you opt to use a different Internet service provider, it will still be necessary to use one of the two to gain access to an ADSL line.
Internet service packages vary widely in terms of data, speed and price. Line rental is paid separately to the data component. Many mobile Internet options exist in Cape Town, and expats will find that few locals have Internet in their homes through established ADSL lines.
Helkom.co.za provides a comparison of different services.
Garbage is placed in black refuse bags, dumped in a black wheelie bin supplied by the municipality, and collected once a week on a set day for each neighbourhood. The municipality supplies one bin per property, although additional bins can be purchased. The refuse charge is included in the monthly rates, sewerage and water bill.
Recycling is still not common practice, although is encouraged by the City. It is worth making the effort to separate out recyclables and taking them to a nearby facility for processing, or to contact a company that will collect your recyclables for you. You can find a list of recycling depots and initiatives at Capetown.gov.za.
Security is an essential service to contract. The biggest providers are ADT
, charging from 300 ZAR per month for alarm monitoring and armed response. Larger apartment blocks will have their own front-desk security, but smaller units will only have security if provided by the body corporate.