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Exploring the driving factors of prepaid electricity meter rejection in the largest township of South Africa

Kambule, Njabulo, Yessoufou, Kowiyou, Nwulu, Nnamdi, Mbohwa, Charles
Energy policy 2019 v.124 pp. 199-205
education, electric energy consumption, electricity, households, issues and policy, low income households, monitoring, questionnaires, society, surveys, South Africa
Technology rejection phenomenon manifests itself differently across different societies. Over the past two decades, low income households in Soweto have persistently rejected prepaid electricity meters. Until now, the basis of the rejection in the region remains scientifically underexplored. We therefore conduct an exploratory study pertaining prepaid meter rejection in Soweto. Through triangulation research and survey approach, 88 households based in Orlando East and Diepkloof were interviewed by means of a questionnaire. Our study identifies three factors that could potentially be linked to the rejection of prepaid electricity meters in Soweto, namely: lack of quality consultation and education, the high levels of electricity consumption, and unattainable politically motivated promises are the main reasons that currently fuel prepaid meter rejection. We emphasise that the current state of the Free Basic Electricity (FBE) policy also fuels rejection, as it remains socio-economically inadequate and irrelevant for indigent households. We therefore note the need for an FBE policy review and update as well as the establishment of a policy monitoring committee to ensure implementation and enforcement. This study should be regarded as an exploratory study pending a more systematic causal analysis in the future.