Manual meter readers blunder

2010-03-25 00:00

MUNICIPAL electricity woes continue for some residents in parts of the city, with some ratepayers expressing concern over faulty readings of their electricity meters.

It has come to the attention of The Witness that meter readers are having problems reading the old dial meters, resulting in blunders at the expense of ratepayers.

In one such case, the resident of a local body corporate, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that their electricity was disconnected earlier this month after an incorrect reading was taken.

After the resident had tried for two days to get reconnected, despite having paid, contractors eventually arrived at her home and discovered that the meter stood at 1 563 units and not the 1 986 recorded by a meter reader, and the household was promptly reconnected.

Said the resident: “The contractor told my husband that we should request that the municipality change us to a digital meter as the meter readers are not able to read the old meters.”

The resident said they were informed by their body corporate last year that municipal employees had come to inspect their old dial meters as they intended to replace them with digital meters.

“Of course, this has not ever happened,” said the resident.

Following queries by The Witness, the resident said they were contacted by the municipality and told that their account would be reduced by R394,70.

At a meeting of the executive committee, which was held a few months ago, concerns were expressed when former deputy mayor Mervyn Dirks said the municipality is paying R900 000 a month for manual meter reading, which has proved to be a failure.

At that meeting, Dirks said it was disturbing that the municipality was still dealing with a problematic billing system even though a new company has taken over the reins.

Msunduzi Municipality spokeswoman Ntobeko Ngcobo said the municipality’s consolidated billing section went and re-checked the meter of the resident who had complained and discovered that the reading taken on February 10 was incorrect. The account was subsequently readjusted and the consumer was informed.

Ngcobo urged consumers experiencing similar problems to contact the electricity engineer’s department to make inquiries about upgrading their meters.

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