R240 000 electricity bill leaves Springs couple in the dark

2017-01-09 13:00
(Gianluigi Guercia, AFP)

(Gianluigi Guercia, AFP)

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Springs – A Springs couple has been left in the dark – literally – after getting a bill for nearly a quarter of a million rand from Eskom.

Marianna Small, 54, and her husband Dirk, have apparently been paying their electricity bill religiously every month, but Netwerk24 reported that they "all of a sudden got a bill of R240 000".

Mariska Kilian, their daughter, says they had been trying to get answers from Eskom since receiving the bill in June.

"We spoke to a Grace at Eskom. When we asked her for an explanation, she said we can pay just R106 000. We couldn't understand why, as the bill had been paid every month," she said.

"Then the amount was dropped to R94 000, but it still didn't make sense and they couldn't tell us why the bill was so high."

According to Kilian, they were then told to pay half or work out a schedule to pay the full amount over three years; failing which their electricity would be cut until the R94 000 had been paid.

And that is exactly what happened on Friday.

"Where are my parents supposed to get the money? My mom doesn't earn much and my dad works from home. He repairs machines [appliances] and then resells them. There isn't much money in the house," Kilian said.

'It is so unfair'

Eskom said in a statement the couple owed so much money because, even though they had paid their accounts, it hadn't been in full.

But Killian said this was not true. "My parents got an account every month and paid it in full," she said.

Eskom confirmed that it had been in contact with the couple and said the money outstanding since 2009 had to be paid.

"Eskom suggested an arrangement to repay it over 24 months, but the customer couldn't do it," Eskom said via email.

"Eskom also informed the client that the power supply would be cut as a result of non-payment. The client asked for more time in order to arrange for a loan. However, Eskom has processes to follow to cut the power supply if payment isn't received on time."

Kilian said the family had sought legal advice on the matter.

"My dad has already begun to sell some of his machines so that they can have the power reconnected. It is so unfair," she said.

Read more on:    eskom  |  springs  |  electricity

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