Eskom’s tamper fee raises ire in Ward 20

2011-10-10 00:00

SOME ward 20 residents have blamed councillor Thulani Xulu for the fact that their electricity was disconnected by Eskom almost three weeks ago.

Those who spoke to The Witness on condition of anonymity claimed that the decision by Eskom to disconnect was motivated by the councillor because they do not support him.

However, Xulu said he inherited the problem when he was elected this year. “My predecessor called a community meeting last November to let people know that Eskom was going to be changing the meters in the area,” said Xulu.

He said he participated in a meeting with Eskom officials as an ANC branch office bearer to negotiate with them not to cut off people’s electricity or raise the so-called “tamper fee” because people in the area would not be able to pay.

“Eskom agreed to let people pay R760 instead of R1 600 and this amount is also payable in instalments,” he said. Xulu said people whose electricity has been cut off are those who refused to allow Eskom technicians to change their meters.

KZN Eskom spokesperson Zethu Sonjica said Eskom does regular routine audits of customer installations to detect faulty or tampered-with meters. Caluza and Smero were audited earlier this year by Eskom. “Tampered meters, where customers are using electricity without paying for the service, were identified and are now being removed as part of the remedial action,” she said.

She said customers that have tampered with their meters are issued with a tamper notice and charged the tamper fee. “Once the tamper fee is paid a new meter will be installed and the customer can continue using electricity, but will have to pay for the electricity used,” said Sonjica.

She said Eskom will be auditing continually and all tampered meters will be removed pending payment of the tamper fee after which a new meter will be installed.

“This is an ongoing programme with no specific end date. All customers will be treated the same and will need to pay the tamper fee if the meter has been tampered with,” she added.

•thobani.ngqulunga@witness.co.za

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