Time for a prepaid electricity system
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