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Poor municipal services

22 June 2012, 13:42

I reside in Welkom, one of the main cities in the Free State. I do not particular like referring to Welkom as a city as it does not conform to the related criteria for a city.

The Welkom municipality has found an original method of reading the electrical meters: They don’t.

 When the water meter reader made his debut at my front gate I asked him in to read the electrical meter too. He told me there is another contractor that reads electrical meters. For a period of three months the electrical usage had never been monitored but the amount varied drastically from one month to the next.  So I started to read my electrical meter every day for about a single month to get a reliable average.

The average word out to be about 11 units per day but should be less because I am only about 71% of the time at home. The municipal readings were climbing steadily as was the payments for electricity. The only reasonable answer is the usage is estimated from a general average for the town or a localised average for individual homes. One of the universal problems with the meters is the water meter is outside the premises while the electrical meter is inside the yard mounted against the house’s wall. The municipality claims the readings are taken only on the 19th of every month but I have to waited for the dogs to come home before the reader gets there.

Consequently I have to disrupt my activities elsewhere when the reader does not arrive.

17 years ago I lived in Welkom for some months. I noticed a bad smell in the water and was told it is normal for Welkom. Three years ago I returned to Welkom but the stink was still obvious. A few weeks ago a local newspaper ran a story on the water condition and according to municipal spokes person there is only 2 forms of bacteria giving the water the bad smell.

They were having problems with water for a long time due to the treatment plant being out of order.  At one stage we had sewerage and contaminated water running in the streets for months.

A suggestion, but a rather expensive one would be for the meters to be mounted, like the water meter, outside the premises.  Sweet dreams.
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