Account frustration boiling over

One of the accounts received by residents.

After 10 months on the new financial system the local municipality still is not getting it right.

The municipal accounts are ended off with the following sentence, “Kindly bear with us as we moving into a new system.”

Consumers are not acting kindly towards the ridiculous amounts they are billed for anymore.

Countless problems have been encountered since the new system’s implementation in July last year.

From the word go the system proved not to be as effective as anticipated.

For the first three months consumers did not receive accounts and were asked to pay an average amount each month.

Then amounts paid by consumers using the EasyPay method did not reflect on accounts.

Some of those accounts are still not rectified.

Then the new system did not register electricity- and water readings.

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Again the consumer was the one that had to make their way to the municipal building with proof of their readings before their accounts were fixed.

Not all of these accounts were corrected.

It seems as if residents are not getting any joy from the municipality.

Mr Sithembiso Makhaye is furious about his account that doubled in just a few months, “When we approached the municipality after some months we were told that we are not the first one with the same problem and we should take our own water meter readings and submit them to municipality. My question is whose job is it to take the correct meter readings for water or electricity? We have prepaid electricity so we only need to pay for water and rates which was R1 400 all along and all of the sudden the bill just shot up to R2 400 a month. This is day light robbery and no one wants to be referred to their workers who don’t have answers or solutions for us instead we are told that we just need to bear this bad service we are getting from the municipality.”
Ms Brenda Sage said her household never used more than 400 units of electricity a months, however this all changed suddenly when they were charged for 1 200 units of electricity.
“I am not getting anywhere. I went to the municipality on March 6 and again on March 15 to sort this mess out. After waiting throughout their lunch hour we were told that they were busy. This account is still not sorted out,” Sage said.

Like Makhaye and Sage there are thousands of consumers who are frustrated with the billing saga.

The municipality is in trouble. It owes Eskom R1.7 billion.

Municipal spokesperson Mr Kingdom Mabuza said the consumer payment rate is only 62%.

During a council meeting on Wednesday, April 25 the billing system was a hot debated topic.

The opposition party wanted to know how the billing problems were going to be sorted out.

Acting municipal manager Mr Sizwe Mayisela said the billing system enjoys high priority.

“We agree that we did not do thorough research. We probably should have kept the old system running as we tried out the new system. However the billing system will be sorted,” Mayisela said.

  AUTHOR
Zita Goldswain
Assistant Editor

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