City Power's customer base is segmented into key customers, large power users, and prepaid, domestic, agricultural and commercial customers. The domestic segment forms the majority of the customer base. To meet the needs of corporate customers. City Power has concentrated on improving the wire network to reduce outages and power surges. Considerable progress has been made, with 70% of customers rating the service as good.
For residential customers, and in line with the government's commitment to ensure all South Africans have access to electricity, the introduction of 50 kWh basic free electricity per month in June 2002 has been very well received. In context, this enables a householder to run two 60 W lamps and a TV set for four hours per day for the month and consume just over half the free allocation. This was one of the first-and highest-initiatives in the country and is a considerable benefit to customers in poor communities.
Customers have access to a sophisticated call centre, which manages over 63 000 calls in the peak winter months and provides a single-source service for all queries, applications and payments. City Power also has employed customer service managers in all its areas of operation. Regular customer's forums are providing a valuable base for feedback and improved customer service. This is reflected in the improvement in City Power's customer satisfaction index from 61% in June 2002 to 70% in June 2003.
As a utility provide, City Power has a responsibility to the communities in which it operates to educate customers about the safe use of electricity, the impact of cable and electricity theft and the importance of account payments.
A major component of the company's social responsibility has been the introduction of free basic electricity.
City Power has also invested a substantial amount in community empowerment projects in Alexandra, eastern Johannesburg, and a sprawling township that is undergoing a multi-faceted renewal phase. City Power has outsourced certain tasks to companies in Alexandra and supported schools in the area with sports equipment to improve general health and reduce crime. An educational campaign aimed at learners covers electrical safety and prevention of vandalism of electricity equipment.