The number of households with access to electricity grew over the course of 2013, according to the latest figures published in the Non-financial census of municipalities by Stats SA. According to the report, which looked at 278 South African municipalities, the number of homes with power increased by 2.3% from 9.7 million households  in 2012 to 10 million in 2013.

In total, there are around 15m households in the country. Which means almost a third are still without a regular power source from the grid.

Stats SA conducts a non-financial census of local municipalities annually to measure selected aspects of service delivery of municipalities including access to water, sewerage, sanitation and electricity.

The Mpumalanga and North West provinces recorded the highest number of increase of access to basic electricity at 45,9% and 45,6% respectively. Over 9 million South African households have access to paid electricity, while 2.5 million households receive free electricity.

The table below breaks down the numbers according to province:

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The Western Cape recorded the highest proportion of households that benefited from the free basic electricity policy (44,3%), followed by Mpumalanga (32,7%) and Gauteng (30,9%), while KwaZulu-Natal showed the lowest proportion (11,6%), followed by Limpopo (12,0%) and North West (18,6%).

While the number of households which survive off grid is still large, Eskom power stations aren’t the only alternative. Last month, we reported on this village in the Free State where hydrogen fuel cells are being used to light up huts.

You can download the full report from the Stats SA website.

[Image – Shutterstock]