Billing blues over me­ter mud­dle

The Star Early Edition - - METRO WATCH - ANNA COX @an­na­cox

THE BILLING cri­sis in the City of Joburg con­tin­ues un­abated. A Bez Val­ley prop­erty owner, Mervin Law, said that for the past 18 months, he has been bat­tling with a billing is­sue in which he is be­ing sad­dled with his neighbour’s R408000 ac­count and which re­sulted in his wa­ter be­ing cut off.

He says a wrong elec­tric­ity me­ter num­ber has been linked to his ac­count.

“With my nu­mer­ous deal­ings with the City of Joburg and City Power, it was es­tab­lished that the me­ter num­ber con­cerned be­longs to a prop­erty two doors away from us. This is clearly a mis­take. I have been pay­ing an av­er­age amount of R2 500 ev­ery month.

“I re­ceived a pre-ter­mi­na­tion no­tice about two weeks ago and again went to query this, and was told that the old me­ter num­ber had been re­stored and the billing would be cor­rected. How­ever, yes­ter­day they cut off my wa­ter.

“I con­tacted the call cen­tre and ver­i­fied that the ref­er­ence num­ber is still logged onto their sys­tem. This is an il­le­gal con­nec­tion as I have a query on the ac­count and they are not al­lowed to dis­con­nect any ser­vices if the query has not been re­solved. I have el­derly per­sons and chil­dren liv­ing on the prop­erty.”

Law said he went to City Power and re­ported the is­sue again.

“The con­sul­tant, on trac­ing the me­ter num­ber, con­firmed that the me­ter be­longs to an­other prop­erty down the road. She said there was a mix-up be­tween our ac­count and the other prop­erty’s ac­count.

“I don’t be­lieve so. Surely if a me­ter was to be shut down or trans­fer of own­er­ship of a prop­erty was to take place, the city or City Power would have sent out an of­fi­cial to ver­ify con­sump­tion fig­ures,” said Law.

Af­ter con­tact­ing Metrowatch, the city sent a me­ter in­spec­tor to ver­ify the me­ter num­ber and con­sump­tion fig­ures on the prop­erty.

“They re­con­nected us the same day and as­sured us the ac­count would be rec­ti­fied,” Law said.

The City of Joburg said it had es­ca­lated Law’s query.

Spokesper­son for the city Kga­manyane Mapholo­gela said: “In re­solv­ing the mat­ter, the city had to first send its me­ter read­ers to the prop­erty in or­der to ob­tain the ac­tual me­ter read­ings.

“Those read­ings have been sent to the billing depart­ment for fur­ther pro­cess­ing,” he said.

He added that it was im­por­tant for the city to have all the in­for­ma­tion re­quired in or­der to suc­cess­fully re­solve the query.

Mapholo­gela said that, as soon as the query was re­solved, the cus­tomer would be given feed­back on the out­come of the query.

‘El­derly peo­ple, chil­dren liv­ing on the prop­erty’

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