Time for a pre­paid elec­tric­ity sys­tem

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WHILE the eThek­wini Mu­nic­i­pal­ity wastes more time and re­sources re­gard­ing the con­tro­ver­sial billing sys­tem, a sim­pler cheaper and far bet­ter so­lu­tion ex­ists – pre­paid mu­nic­i­pal elec­tric­ity, and even­tu­ally wa­ter.

Tech­nol­ogy has over­taken the post-paid billing sys­tem and this is like com­par­ing the Post Of­fice to email when send­ing a let­ter.

Mu­nic­i­pal pre­paid elec­tric­ity re­quires a one­off in­stal­la­tion and this works like a dream. To the cur­rent users, this is use­ful when bud­get­ing and mon­i­tor­ing, es­pe­cially for fixed-in­come, un­em­ployed, state ben­e­fi­cia­ries and poorer house­holds.

This will cut the work­load and, even­tu­ally, staff com­ple­ment at eThek­wini – which will be a mas­sive sav­ings to the ratepayer.

At the mo­ment the trend is for many prop­erty own­ers to in­stall pri­vate pre­paid elec­tric­ity, and this adds another 15-20% to a con­sumer’s elec­tric­ity bill, over and above eThek­wini’s sur­charge – as op­posed to a pre­paid Eskom con­sumer (the power util­ity is rapidly rolling out pre­paid for their net­work).

As a pre­paid Eskom con­sumer, your bill would be half that of a pri­vate pre­paid cus­tomer.

This is money that peo­ple can use for ne­ces­si­ties.

In fact, deal­ing with an Eskom query vs an eThek­wini billing query is chalk and cheese – and I can iden­tify with many of the eThek­wini com­plainants.

Well done to Eskom in this re­gard.

Mu­nic­i­pal­ity pre­paid elec­tric­ity billing will elim­i­nate the need for de­posits, ap­pli­ca­tion forms, me­ter read­ings, billings, er­rors, dis­con­nec­tions, queries, re-con­nec­tions and will halve the work load in call cen­tres overnight.

Most mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties in South Africa have adopted this sys­tem and are rapidly rolling it out.

The next phase will be wa­ter with the smart me­ter­ing. (This will save on dam­aged pipes and mas­sive wastage). Why eThek­wini is drag­ging this out is un­fath­omable.

My sug­ges­tion is ap­point 10 in­de­pen­dent mu­nic­i­pal­ityap­pointed con­trac­tors and the con­sumer can choose the ser­vice provider.

This will be done overnight and prob­a­bly 80% of res­i­den­tial con­sumers will be on this sys­tem in two years.

Think of the queries this will wipe out overnight.

This will re­sult in far less dis­sat­is­fied cus­tomers and quicker turn-around times in re­solv­ing wa­ter and other rates is­sues.

The sooner the bet­ter. Muham­mad Omar

Dur­ban North

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