Pay your account on time and get discount

Emalahleni Local Municipality is pulling out all the stops to encourage consumers to pay their service accounts.
The municipality caught a dip when problems with the issuing of accounts were experienced during the past two months.

“To encourage customers to catch up on arrears and to pay accounts early, council has approved that we can repeat the incentive scheme which was in operation between January and March of this year,” Mr Kingdom Mabuza, municipal spokesperson said.

This new scheme will be streamlined to eliminate, where possible, the logistical and interpretation problems as experienced during the first scheme, and will come into effect on September 15.

Early payments, where the money reflects on the municipal account by the targeted date, will attract a 5% discount on the total bill, if paid in full, and if there are no other outstanding fees.

“Please be aware that payments for the July account that are due on September 3 and the August account that is due on September 14 will not qualify. Thereafter, from the September account, monthly payments paid in full by the first day of each month, where normal payments are due by the seventh of each month, will qualify for the discount,” Mabuza said.

Discounted amounts will be reflected on the next monthly statement. Customers may not deduct the discounts themselves.

If you pay your municipal accounts by debit order you can also qualify for the discount if you change your debit order to not later than the first of each month.

For consumers whose accounts are in arrears there is also a bit of relief.

If the full arrears is settled, a discount of up to R50 000, or in special cases higher as may be considered by the Mayoral Committee, can be applied.

Mabuza explained that the full settlement of arrears of between 30 to 90 days as recorded on September 1, will qualify for a 15% discount. Full settlement of arrears of older than 90 to 180 days as recorded on September 1 will qualify for 30% discount. If your account is older than 180 days on September 1 and you pay in full you will get 50% discount.

“Arrears occurring into any category after September 1 will not qualify.”

To qualify for the discount the customer must be in good standing with no illegal connections or unauthorized land usage.

The incentives and discounts apply for private households as well as for business customers. Government customers are excluded and need to directly approach the accounting officer should they want to enter into any special arrangements.

This initiative will run for six months, after which council will look at the progress made and could then consider an extension.

Fines and penalties as part of the arrears as on September 1 will also qualify for discounts. But fines or penalties attracted after September 1 will not qualify for discounts.
Prepaid customers might get a shock when they buy electricity.

“If prepaid is bought, but the rest of the account is in arrears, it will attract credit control and disconnection of electricity,” Mabuza explained.

For those who currently have repayment arrangements, early payments on the full amount due, will qualify for the discount. To benefit from the discounts on arrear settlement the customer must approach the municipality to settle the full arrears.

No discounts will be allowed on partial settlements.

“Staff members and councillors do not qualify for discounts on arrears as they may not owe the municipality funds in terms of current legislation. They however will qualify for discounts on early payments,” Mabuza said.

Pensioners and indigents in the municipality can and will receive the normal discounts and rebates, and if not yet benefiting from this, are urged to approach the municipality to register accordingly.

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Zita Goldswain
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