Tenants and landlords generally share the responsibility for paying utilities in Cape Town. Water, rates and refuse are often included in the rental price while tenants are usually responsible for electricity.
Utilities in Cape Town
Electricity in South Africa is provided by Eskom. Occasionally, demand outstrips supply which causes scheduled blackouts in certain areas, especially during the winter months. This is not generally a frequent occurrence.
Consecutive increases in the price of electricity have plagued consumers since 2010 and, as a result of poor planning, costs don't look to be decreasing any time soon. Tenants can either set up an account with the municipality and receive monthly bills or make use of prepaid meters that are topped up by vouchers purchased at most supermarkets or via online banking.
The Cape Town Municipality supplies water which is charged on a sliding scale according to the amount used and includes a free basic allocation. Bills can be paid online, at any Post Office and at most supermarkets. Water quality in Cape Town meets first world standards and tap water is completely safe to drink.
From time to time, Cape Town may experience droughts. There are various levels of water restrictions that can be implemented, and these may include higher prices for water and sanitation.
Gas can only be bought or delivered in canister form and is not supplied via pipes as it is in European or American homes. Gas bottles can be bought at most service stations and gas company outlets. There are also several gas delivery services.
Garbage, simply referred to as "the rubbish" by most South Africans, 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 it is growing and 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 collects residential recyclables. A list of recycling depots and initiatives is available on the Cape Town government website.
Security is an essential service to contract. The biggest companies are ADT and Chubb which provide 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.
►Domestic Help in Cape Town explores the housekeeping options available to expats
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