Avoid interest by not skipping bill payments
ANORTHCLIFF resident, Jeanne Marks, has been tearing her hair out over an incorrect bill of about R4000 for electricity each month.
“I am receiving monthly accounts of more than R4 000 per month in spite of the fact that I only switch on my electricity twice, maximum three times a week, at the main switch, to charge my cellphone and do washing once a week.
“In my opinion, I am contributing to someone else’s electricity account.
“I informed the city of my problem at a rates and taxes meeting at Marks Park, but to date nobody has contacted me,” she said.
Furthermore she estimates that she is owed about R42000 for estimated accounts since 2013.
Council spokesperson Kgamanyane Maphologela said: “This customer’s electricity is normal.
“The city’s analysis of the customer’s electricity consumption found the charges are normal and charges are correct.
“The assertion made that the city charges the customer R4 000 for electricity alone is not true.”
He said the reason for this could be the fact that the customer has not been faithful in servicing her debt regularly.
“Our records show that the customer last paid their account about a year ago in June, so the electricity consumption is definitely not the reason the account balance accumulates, it is because the customer has not been servicing their municipal account on a regular basis,” Maphologela said.
He stressed that even though the customer might not be using the electricity regularly, she still has to pay for other services.
“The city charges for five services, namely electricity, water, property rates, sewer and refuse, which the customer is still liable to pay on an ongoing basis.”
Maphologela also cautions customers to be aware of the compound interest in the instance where they have not been paying consistently.
“We have found that a lot of customers are either part-paying the city or skipping some months in between.
“This result is the interest growing as you miss payments.
“You could imagine if someone has not been paying their account in about a year, how much interest it would have grown by,” says Maphologela. He cautioned customers to be aware of the compound interest if they haven’t been paying consistently.
However, the city’s ombudsman, to which Marks referred her query, contradicted this, saying the revenue department had conducted investigations on the account and found that her electricity readings were based on estimated consumption.
The ombudsman said these readings had subsequently been corrected, and actual readings were captured on the account.
All charges based on estimated consumption have now been reversed and the account is correct.
Marks said: “Thank you so much for Metrowatch’s input. I feel like quoting Winston Churchill – ‘Never give up, never give up’.
The result is the interest growing as you miss payments