Electricity thieves in for a great big shock

2010-06-23 00:00

ELECTRICITY thieves are set to be hammered financially now that the Msunduzi Municipality has put new measures in place to help them deal with this rampant practice.

From July 1, if the municipality discovers that a business has been stealing electricity, it will be made to pay a fine of R250 000.

A repeat offence will result in a business being fined R300 000, while a third offence will result in a business being slapped with a R500 000 fine.

But businesses will not be the only ones facing hefty fines for electricity theft.

First-time domestic offenders will be fined R10 000.

If a domestic consumer is caught out a second time, the fine escalates to R15 000 and third-time offenders will be liable for a fine of R25 000.

These measures form part of the municipality’s amended credit control and debt collection policy, which was revealed at yesterday’s executive committee (Exco) meeting.

Msunduzi administrator Johann Mettler said that from next month users wanting to enter into a new service agreement with the municipality will be able to do so only when outstanding accounts owed on their property are fully paid up.

This means that property owners will have to make sure that tenants pay their accounts or they will be held liable.

Said Mettler: “We as the municipality make rules in respect of how we provide services to those who use them. It’s up to the landlord to make arrangements and make sure that the accounts are up to date.

“This agreement will result in both parties receiving accounts. Both of them are equally responsible.”

Council speaker Babu Baijoo said these measures are allowed in terms of the National Credit Act.

He said a judge in a court in Pretoria has ruled in favour of the policy.

Mettler said any customer, including the property owner, who wants to apply for the provision of municipal services will now have to pay a deposit that will be determined by averaging out that property’s consumption of services over three months.

Mettler said they have also amended the agreement about payments for accounts in arrears.

“When a customer in arrears is a business or commercial concern, a minimum of 50% of the total overdue amount and the current amount due, as an initial payment, shall be paid, and the balance of the account shall be paid in equal instalments over a maximum period of six months,” he said.

Mettler said the previous policy allowed businesses to pay equal instalments over 12 months after paying a minimum deposit of 50% on the overdue amount.

He said domestic consumers in arrears will continue to pay a 10% deposit on the overdue amount and then settle the rest in equal instalments over a 12-month period, but a new amendment has been put in place.

“Upon written application by a customer, the maximum repayment period may be extended to 60 months at the discretion of the consolidated billing manager,” he said.

Baijoo said he foresees no problem with having one manager responsible for electricity payments, “because if you have three or four they pass the buck.

“At least one manager can be held accountable and the CFO and municipal manager can step in if need be.”

Mettler said the manager will report back to Exco every month to ensure accountability.

 

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.