Payback for overcharged electricity

2013-10-11 00:00

MSUNDUZI residents will get back the three percent extra they paid on their August electricity bills in an undertaking from municipal manager Mxolisi Nkosi. The amount totals roughly R4 million.

However, Nkosi made it clear yesterday that there would be no cash refunds. Instead, residents would be credited in future accounts.

The municipality’s finance department was currently working out how this was going to be done before taking their recommendations to council.

The situation came about when the municipality set its electricity tariff in the new budget to 10%. This was a bigger hike than the seven percent recommended by the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (Nersa).

The municipality wrote to Nersa asking permission to go above the recommended rate. Confident that Nersa would agree to the hike, Msuduzi went ahead and passed on the 10% increase to consumers. This was reflected in the August utility bill.

But, Nersa turned down the request and later an appeal was lodged by the municipality to be allowed to keep the tariff hike.

The energy regulator said it could not find a justifiable motivation on the part of the municipality for the requested increase.

The municipality was left with no option but to reverse its charges and go back to a seven percent electricity tariff increase.

It is estimated that the three percent drop in the tariff would mean that the city’s projected budget for this financial year will drop by about R49 million, from R1,565 billion to R1,516 billion.

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