Brace for much bigger bills

2011-06-30 00:00

IT’S in percentages now, but at the end of July city residents will receive their municipal utility bills and be faced with hard evidence of how the tariff increases that come into force on July 1 affect their household budgets.

The new council yesterday confirmed its acceptance of the tariff increases adopted by the previous council.

What became evident is that the National Energy Regulator of SA (Nersa) has given Msunduzi permission to charge 23% more for electricity, an increase higher than the 21% it recommended.

The municipality will start calculating the cost of utility services on the new tariffs from July 1 and the higher amounts will be reflected in accounts at the end of July.

Mayor Chris Ndlela said he is satisfied that the increases are in line with legislation and reflect the costs reasonably associated with rendering municipal services, including capital, operations, maintenance, administration, replacement and interest charges. He said the increases are also in line with national treasury guidelines.

Ndlela gave the council’s commitment that the city’s failing infrastructure will be maintained and replaced and that it will plan for the next 25 years so that in that time residents are not caught up in the same situation as now.

“The challenge that we are facing as a city regarding ageing infrastructure and socio-economic growth is that we need to invest in a long-term vision in planning for the next 25 to 30 years.”

Ndlela said the municipality has to maintain infrastructure because it depends on it to get revenue. “If infrastructure fails we cannot get revenue, which means we cannot provide services, which we are required to do by law. It is in this light that we have to effect an increase in tariffs,” he said.

The mayor said the poor will be protected by the indigent policy.

“People with households valued at R150 000 and less are allowed a 100% rebate in rates, and we also have the lifeline tariff for electricity that says with an installation of a 20 amp MCB, and the use of not more than 500 units per month, the owner gets 250 units free.

“In the case of water, if they use six kilolitres or less within 30 days they are not charged for water, and for refuse collection and sewerage, they pay 50%. Our indigent and lifeline tariff policies are very clear and active,” Ndlela said.

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