Statistics South Africa on municipal electricity and water purchases and sales

31 Mar 2015

Municipalities purchase less electricity but spend more on water

Municipal purchases and sales of water and electricity followed expected seasonal patterns in the quarter ended December 2014. Municipalities spent an additional 12,9% on water purchases, compared with the quarter ended September 2014. Municipal income generated from water sales increased by 20,0%.

There were decreases in both purchases of electricity (-27,9%) and sales of electricity (-12,8%), according to Stats SA’s latest Quarterly financial statistics of municipalities report. The drop in electricity purchases and sales during the December quarter is a seasonal phenomenon resulting from decreased demand from both individuals (who use comparatively less electricity during the summer months compared with the winter months), and enterprises (many of which close down, or have reduced electricity consumption, over the December period).

Fig 1: Municipal sales and purchases of electricity and water

From a provincial perspective, Gauteng province is the largest contributor in terms of purchases of water, followed by KwaZulu-Natal and North West. The smallest contributing province to water purchases is Northern Cape. A similar trend is evident with regard to sales of water.

Fig. 2: Municipal purchases of water by province

The report also provides information on the amount of income municipalities receive from national and provincial government. Municipalities received R22,9 billion in the form of grants and subsidies during the December 2014 quarter, an increase of 5,5% (R1,2 billion) compared with that received during the previous quarter. The largest portion of the R22,9 billion in total grants and subsidies received went to municipalities in Gauteng (R5,6 billion or 25%), followed by those in KwaZulu-Natal (R4,5 billion or 20%), Eastern Cape (R3,1 billion or 14%), and Western Cape (R2,4 billion or 11%). The province with the lowest share of grants and subsidies received was Northern Cape (R0,6 billion or 3%).

Fig 3: Provincial distribution of grants and subsidies received by municipalities

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For provincial level data, contact Hellen Maribe at