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How to calculate your fees

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Welcome to Utility Bites where we present a series of topical discussions in and around the utility space.

In this edition of Utility Bites, we are looking at various types of prepaid transaction receipts to see how the fees are applied. Each transaction taking place, will be made up of various components, which may impact on the final vend value. (see article on Understanding your Prepaid Transaction )

Depending on the purchasing channel that the end user has elected to use, will determine what channel fee will be levied by the service provider. Each channel used incurs an operational cost for the service provider that needs to be recovered from the end-user. These operational costs, amongst others, include Vat, network connections, SMS fees, 3rd party service fees, bank charges, etc.

There are 2 main categories of payment channels that end users utilise; Retail and Bank. We do have an online Credit Card option but this is only available via the vending management system Aurora. For the purposes of this article we will be focusing on the retail and bank channels as they are more widely used.

Currently at the time of writing Enbaya’s channel fee for purchasing via a retail vendor like Spar or Sasol is 10%, however if a end-user decides to make an EFT payment direct to Enbaya Prepaid Meters then they will save on the channel fee as it is cheaper at 7.5%. There is an even cheaper option by configuring and setting up recurring monthly payments, we call this option Autotility. (see article Autotility )

Before we examine a transaction receipt, we need to clarify the difference between a token and a voucher:

  1. A token is the 20 digit number generated by the vending management system that contains all the information your meter requires in order to recharge, like the value of units bought. Token slips can be bought directly from Checkers and Pick n Pay.
  2. A voucher, issued by a UniPin vendor like Spar or Engen, contains a 9 digit number that needs to be redeemed first using the *120* dialing instructions, to get the token for your meter. Your token is then received by way of SMS.

For our first example we are going to look at a UniPin voucher that was purchased from Spar:

 

As you can see the only information you have at this point is the dialing instructions and the Pin (voucher) number that must be used in order to redeem the voucher. At this point you will not know what the channel fees are or the cost per unit. Bear in mind that these costs will vary from vendor to vendor.

Once you redeem the voucher, the SMS you receive will look like this:

  1. AmtElec refers to the vend value i.e. the amount after deductions (excl Vat) that the tariff will be applied to – R39.13
  2. U: refers to the units issued – 26.36kWh
  3. Charges refers to the channel fee that was deducted first – R5. The vouchers value was R50 so a quick calculation lets you know that the channel fee levied was 10%.
  4. T(s) is your 20 digit token number for your meter.

You can now calculate the tariff you paid on this transaction – R39.13/26.36kWh = R1.48 (excl Vat) and R1.71 (incl Vat)

 

 

 

 

The next example is a Token slip that was purchased from Checkers. Let's break it down to see what the costs are:

  1. Purchase value R50.00
  2. Service Charge of R5 – this is the channel fee that the service provider charged on this transaction. R5 of R50 is 10%.
  3. Arrear of R17 – this meter account had an arrear balance of R17 that needed to be deducted before the value of units could be calculated. An arrear balance could be due for a number of reasons:
  • Management fee due from previous month
  • Monthly fixed charges loaded by your Landlord
  1. Vend value of R28 – this is the amount after deductions that the tariff set on the system will be applied to.
  2. Units 16.4kWh – the unit value that your meter will be credited with.
  3. Token number – 20 digit number you will input into your meter to recharge it.

Now that you have the vend value (4) and number of units (5) you can calculate what you are paying per unit for this transaction.

R28 / 16.4kWh = R1.71 (incl vat) per kWh. 

If this very same transaction was done via an EFT payment, the token value would then have been 17.11kWh.

The above examples are of prepaid purchases for privately managed sub meters.

In the case of Municipal prepaid meters all the service charges are normally built into the tariff so there are no separate deductions reflecting on the transaction receipt. That is not to say that the Municipality does not impose additional charges on prepaid transactions when needed.

The following is an example of a purchase done by way of the prepaid option in a banking app which is only available for Municipal meters, in this case Absa was used:

 

In this instance the cost per unit was: R50 / 29.4kWh = R1.70

An important point to mention here is that depending on your tariff structure it may happen that the number of units allocated to your purchase will vary during the course of the month. This will happen if you are on the Inclining Block Tariff structure, where, the more you purchase in a given month, the more you will pay per unit. (see article on IBT )

 

 

 

 

It is highly recommended that you examine your prepaid slips in detail to determine:

  1. What are the service fees your service provider is charging you?
  2. Is your service provider hiding additional charges in your transaction?
  3. Be aware of the tariff structure set on your meter account so that you can budget accordingly.
  4. Investigate the different payment channels and related fees available to you.

If you are a customer of Enbaya, by simply planning ahead of time you can save on the channel fees by using the more cost-effective options that Enbaya has to offer, like EFT and Autotility. 

Link to understanding your prepaid transaction

 

Link to Autotility

 

Link to IBT Article

 

 

Link to Recharge Page

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