350 homes without lights after bill dispute

2010-02-25 00:00

MORE than 350 families in the Signal Hill housing complex were left without electricity on Tuesday night, following a dispute over payment between the Msunduzi Housing Association (MHA) and the municipality.

Residents were furious, saying they had pre-paid meters and asking why the “heavy-handed” municipal disconnection team should make them suffer for the R240 000 allegedly owed by the housing association.

MHA CEO Judy Vather said they had paid their accounts on time and that the amount in dispute arises from a May 2008 account.

“When this amount was raised we had only 25 tenants in the units; therefore that amount could not have been ours. We raised queries with the municipality from then right up until February 11 this year, and these queries have all gone unanswered. MHA has proof of all our correspondence,” she said.

Vather said she does not know how the municipality can justify disconnecting 364 units for an account that is in dispute.

After MHA had contacted the municipality, it was told the electricity would be reconnected as a matter of priority. However, the promise could not be kept as municipal workers were on strike.

The electricity was finally back on by the afternoon and when the residents returned from work they were satisfied that they could have a hot bath, a cup of tea and cook their suppers.

Vather said she hopes they will now be able to resolve the disputed bill as a matter of urgency. “We regret that our tenants were affected by this disconnection, but this was through no fault of the Msunduzi Housing Association,” she said.


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