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Utility tariff hikes on the cards for Joburg

If the proposed hikes are approved, residents will pay for water & electricity at costs higher than inflation.

FILE. The City of Johannesburg has proposed water tariffs should increase by between 11 and 17 percent and electricity by 12.19 percent. Picture: Aki Anastasiou/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Johannesburg residents have been warned to start taking measures to reduce electricity consumption and use water wisely as new steep municipal rates and tariffs are being considered.

Consumer experts and economists have warned the increases will have an enormous impact on households already struggling to make ends meet.

The City of Johannesburg has proposed water tariffs should increase by between 11 and 17 percent and electricity by 12.19 percent.

If the city's proposed tariff increases are approved, Johannesburg residents will pay increases for water, electricity and sewage costs that are higher than inflation.

Economist Chris Hart says by increasing the hikes, even fewer people will be able to pay their bills.

"Weakening the economy makes us poor because the economy doesn't have the capacity to put the money back into our pockets."

Personal finance journalist Maya Fisher-French says the new rates will only put even more pressure on consumers to keep their homes.

"People are actually going to start struggling to meet the running costs of keeping a home."

The public can now comment on the proposed tariffs before the Johannesburg council passes it.

The new hikes will be implemented on 1 July.