Metro threatens: Pay on time or electricity will be cut

2016-11-09 06:01
Bay residents who do not pay their municipal bills on time will have to manage without power, said Executive Mayor Athol Trollip (middle). Consumers can, however, contact the metro to make special arrangements if they cannot afford to settle their accounts all at once. With Trollip is Retief Odendaal (left), a mayoral committee member for budget and treasury, and Trevor Harper, the metro’s financial head.                                             Photo: MORNÉ DU RANDT

Bay residents who do not pay their municipal bills on time will have to manage without power, said Executive Mayor Athol Trollip (middle). Consumers can, however, contact the metro to make special arrangements if they cannot afford to settle their accounts all at once. With Trollip is Retief Odendaal (left), a mayoral committee member for budget and treasury, and Trevor Harper, the metro’s financial head. Photo: MORNÉ DU RANDT

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RESIDENTS of the Nelson Mandela Bay who fail to settle their water and electricity bills on time will quickly have to become used to managing without these services.

Even state institutions will answer to outstanding and/or late payments.

At least R2 billion in payments are still outstanding, while numerous consumers do not pay their bills on time.

“From now on, users will have to settle their debt within 15 days after the deadline or their power will be disabled,” said Executive Mayor Athol Trollip last Tuesday (November 1) in Port Elizabeth.

He added that water supply will also be affected. “Access to water is, however, a constitutional right. Consequently, water supply to debtors and defaulters’ properties will be reduced to a thin stream until the accounts are settled.”

It is essential that residents pay their water and electricity bills, Trollip emphasised, “because, if it does not happen, the municipality does not have the money to supply basic services.”

Consumers will also not be able to buy prepaid electricity if they do not settle their municipal accounts.

There is, however, a bit of mercy for those who cannot suddenly settle all of their outstanding bills: they can contact the municipality to make special arrangements.

The Metro blocked almost 3 400 electricity metres last month due to debt, said Retief Odendaal, a mayoral committee member for budget and treasury. “These metres belong to consumers who owe a collective amount of almost R17,2 billion,” said Odendaal.

For the past two weeks, the Metro has collected R15,6 million of its debt after notices were sent out to warn defaulters that their power could be cut off.

Among these payments, R6 million is from the Department of Health, while the Metro hopes to collect another R5,7 million from the Department of Education.

Meanwhile, the Coega Development Corporation (CDC) has come to a special agreement with the Metro to settle its debt of over R21 million over the next six months.

A payment of R6 million was made in August, with another R6 million expected to be paid this month.

“We are getting strict with residents and the government regarding their debt. Hopefully we will see the positive results within a month or two.”

. Consumers who want to make special arrangements with the municipality to avoid their electricity supply being cut off can contact the call centre on weekdays at 041 506 5555 or customer­care@mandelametro.gov.za.

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