Caluza: electricity meters spark row

2011-09-22 00:00

CALUZA residents nearly came to blows when electricity contractors visited the area to install prepaid electricity meters in their houses to replace the ones that have been illegally bypassed.

Neighbours hurled profanities and insults at one another.

One faction supports Ward 20 councillor Thulani Xulu for arranging the installation of prepaid meters.

Xulu said that last October Eskom indicated that electricity would be cut off in some of the houses because of illegal connections.

A delegation of ward representatives and Xulu (who was not ward councillor at the time), was sent to Eskom to reach a compromise on dealing with illegal connections.

On Monday Xulu announced at a public meeting that the contractors would start installing new meters.

On Tuesday the contractors were reportedly intimidated by residents who opposed the installations and police were called.

“We will submit names of those people who intimidated the contractors so that they can be arrested,” said Xulu.

He said the installation is free of charge, with a R760 once-off fee, and that any resident who declines a new meter may do so.

The opposing faction said Xulu did not consult residents.

“We don’t want these meters. It is a lie that once the new meter is installed only R760 is payable; it is actually R1 600 … We have people who cannot afford to pay these fees,” said a resident, Manunu Ngubane.

Another resident, Soweto Nhlangothi, said they demand to be addressed properly by Eskom representatives.

Nhlanhla Madlala of Eskom in Durban said the company will respond as soon as possible.

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