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Discover How To Fix Airbnb Electricity Charges For One Or Two Bad Guests: 6 Tips

By in Home Owners with 2 Comments

How To Fix Airbnb Electricity Charges For Bad Guests


Airbnb Electricity Charges: Eskom average electricity price – 1994 to 2020

It’s nearly the end of winter and now we talk about high Airbnb electricity charges. Yes. It’s never too late. There will be more winters. 

It is disturbing to think that a small minority of Airbnb guests are abusing expensive electricity while staying at your homes. With the cost of electricity increasing all the time in South Africa, it can be costly for homeowners if their guests aren’t aware and they’re using a lot of power.

That’s why we recommend to guests to turn off lights, heaters, and air conditioners when they are not in the house, unplugging appliances when not in use, and shutting down electronics like TVs after each use.

But these efforts are not successful and we must adapt; set stricter rules and make these guests responsible for their abuse.

Today we will discuss electricity abuse; the problem, possible solutions, the pros and cons and then formalise what we believe is best.

Airbnb Electricity Charges: A Few Problem Guests Are Oblivious To Wasting Electricity


Guests: Stop wasting energy concept

One of our hosts at French Breeze sent us this email and it describes these unfortunately bad guests:

The present guest, 3 young ladies from France, use electricity without any shame. Aircons, heaters, jacuzzi on all the time. Even when they go out. They left this morning for a 2-day safari and still left 2 aircon and 2 heaters on despite being asked politely before to switch everything off when they go out. I switched them all off!

They were heating all rooms!

…. all the time…. in Europe this may be normal, but here? On average guests use between 90 and 120 units per day in winter. These girls used 170 units per day.

The issue is not limited to South Africa. Many other Airbnb hosts want to know how to do “extra charges for water and electricity” more here.

How Common Is The Abuse Of Electricity By Airbnb Guests?

Airbnb Electricity Charges:

The answer is the crux of the issue; very few guests abuse electricity. Unfortunately, all guests will be subjected to the rules we require to limit excessive use.

That’s why a simplistic policing solution will not work; as we need to balance good guest relationships with strict rules. Imagine you arrive for holiday, you are a nice group, but the host bombards you with a bunch of rules.

You have to do what you have to do!

But how you do it is critical.

Some hosts suggested signing an agreement or even paying a refundable cash deposit at arrival. Not bad but image you have just agreed to and paid via Airbnb now you have more red tape and need cash to pay for a deposit. It will just cause a bad vibe with many guests who never would have exceeded electricity consumption.

Let’s consider alternatives:

Tips To Fool Fools, As They Will Abuse Electricity If They Get Away With It

The world is a foolish place. And we have to make it easy for fools to not fool us. Let’s rather fool them. How do we do that?

    1. Set and communicate clearly explained rules to guests. Even before they book. Draw the lines.
    2. About a cold winter, we can do very little in our poorly insulated homes. But many Airbnbs make available, many snoozy blankets available in all rooms, lounges etc. We have to make it easy for guests to feel warm without having to resort to electricity. As a general rule, I advise leaving at least one extra blanket per bed space. even provide two or three extra blankets for your guests even if the temperature really heats up. Remember; a cosy blanket is a once-off cost; it does not accumulate.
    3. Draught-proofing your home. Leaking air is an enemy of energy efficiency by increasing heating and cooling costs by 25%. DIY options here.
    4. Educate guests to keep doors shut to any rooms they’re unlikely to go into.
    5. Check your heaters and replace if necessary; the cheapest heaters are wall panel heaters (Index 1), Nanotech plug-in heaters at 18% (index 1.18) more than expensive than wall heaters, under carpet heating mats (1.41), with the most expensive the 3 bar electric heater at more than 4 times the cost of panel heaters. Have a look at this list. If you have any of the following consider throwing them out; fan heater (2.5), fin oil heater (3.5), Infrared heater (3.5) etc.
    6. Consider an efficient fireplace: Studies have shown that burning firewood can be a more cost-effective alternative to using electricity in terms of the price per amount of heat produced (more). Note: There are very few cost savings in purchasing older stoves, especially given highly efficient modern technology. Guests are in control of usage; they get a starter pack of wood, any more they buy.

Can Airbnb Hosts Charge Extra For Electricity?

Yes. What is critical is that the host stipulates that there is an extra cost for electricity (exceeding a limit). This is done along with the Airbnb house rules. Just to prove the point I found this guest who wrote:

Now, in order to avoid the fight after the fact, I pointed out to AirBNB that a host was going to solicit fees after the fact. Support wrote back to me saying this was entirely OK, that they can charge fees for “electricity and whatnot” as long as they mentioned it somehow in the listing.

How To Communicate The Charge Extra For Electricity In 5-Star Way?

I mentioned that most guests are kind and considerate; these are the guests we expect 5-star reviews from. But we have a responsibility to limit abuse. Here is what we are busy implementing:

  1. Each home will have maximum electricity the guest can use freely. Any excess and they pay the difference after the stay.
  2. The Airbnb, rules section add, “We expect you to conserve the scarce and expensive resource; electricity. You’ll have more than enough at 80 units per day as our average consumption is less. Any usage above 80 is for your account and calculated at the current rate we get charged by the electricity provider.
  3. The Airbnb host, upon arrival, again communicates this to guests. We don’t want them to feel policed but they must know. Hosts to show them the electricity meter. Take a photo of the meter reading and share it with them. When hosts explain the issue blame it on the boss, Eskom etc. Tell them anything above 80 units per day will be for their account. It’s important to have the correct words, “As you know electricity in South Africa is very expensive. And my boss is on me! I realise this is a cold home, during winter, and we want guests to be comfortable. Unfortunately, a few guests have no regard for electricity usage and really abuse it. I know you will not be one of them but I must just make you aware of it. I am sure you’ll understand. etc.
  4. If the host has an opportunity to visit the guests during the stay check the electricity. If consumption is above the limit mention your concern with the guest. This may give them an opportunity to correct.
  5. At departure check the meter. If the consumption is less thank the guests for being considerate. If the consumption is more take a photo; there is no reason to confront the guest with the news. The hosts must say goodbye and check them out. But send the consumption figure to management to claim from the guest.

Is there anything I missed? 

High electricity bills for Airbnb hosts are part of the game. But excessive use must be curbed.

We want guests to be happy and comfortable. We know they will turn up the heat to keep warm – which can lead to a spike in power consumption.

As Airbnb hosts, we need to monitor guest’s energy usage closely and set clear limits on what we are willing to allow. If they exceed those limits, then they will pay.

However, if your home generates too many drafts or has inefficient heaters or fireplaces, then it may be time to invest in a few simple cost-effective alternatives – lounge blankets.

It’s a balancing act. 

Rules are never nice. Rules are easy. Limiting extra Airbnb electricity charges needs a multi-prong approach; rules and investments inefficiency.

In the meantime; We cannot allow a few stuff the pudding for all.

What Is Your Opinion On Airbnb Electricity Charges?

Let us know. We would love to learn from your experience. Today.


  1. […] had a wet and cold winter and sometimes excessive energy consumption. And it may have affected travellers during September; the wet weather affected a few homes with […]

  2. […] will use electricity if we allow them. At most homes, we have a limit on consumption. But nothing stops you from ensuring a cosy stay without forking out for electricity. Various tips […]

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