In the dark over lights bills

2012-08-07 00:00

MSUNDUZI residents are in the dark, but this time around it is not related to electricity outages.

Rather it’s their light accounts, which they have not been receiving, and so they don’t know what they owe.

Since the municipality terminated its meter-reading contract with Riotec Solutions at the end of June, The Witness has been inundated by calls from residents who have not received their bills and don’t know how much to pay.

Said a concerned resident who asked not to be named: “We are in the dark about our electricity statements and even if we phone the municipality we don’t get any response.

“We are told by some at the municipality that our statements will be sent via e-mails.”

But he wondered how the municipality planned to do this when most residents do not have e-mail.

“I have not received my statements for the past two months and I need to know why,” he added.

Other residents who send e-mails to the billing e-mail address said they had not received a response.

Another resident reported being told that his delayed electricity bill was a postal problem.

Said Ronny George, vice-chairperson of the Msunduzi Rates Forum: “The municipality has let us down on numerous issues, and not receiving our electricity statements is just one of those issues.”

Mxolisi Nkosi, Msunduzi municipal manager, apologised to consumers for the inconvenience.

“We cancelled the contract last month. Consumers will only be affected by this initiative for this month as we are in the process of hiring 154 meter readers to provide the city with a permanent solution to a problem that has been facing the municipality for years.”

Nkosi said the municipality had meter readers, but due to staff shortages they were unable to cover the entire municipal area.

“This is the last month that the municipality will be estimating the meters,” he said. The estimates would come to an end from September once the 154 new meter readers were hired.

Nkosi assured residents whose accounts were up to date and who had not received their statements last month or this month not to worry as their electricity would not be affected.

• thobani.ngqulunga@witness.co.za

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