Electricity thieves at it again

2010-10-01 00:00

A HANDFUL of unrepentant electricity thieves whose illegal electricity supply was disconnected, have returned to their thieving ways.

City administrator Johann Mettler reported to the executive committee (Exco) that the disconnection team sniffing out illegal connections, known as Operation Pitbull, are checking up on past transgressors. He could not give figures, but said there were one or two who had re-connected their illegal supply. Mettler said part of Operation Pitbull’s work included going back and checking on those who had completely by-passed the system previously. He said those caught have had to pay the heaviest penalties.

Mayor Mike Tarr said that once the system and the municipality’s database had been properly cleansed, then it would be easier to pick up mistakes and bills with big variances.

Asked about an ongoing complaint over the installation of incorrect MCB’s (main circuit breakers), Mettler said they have found mistakes. He said they have found MCBs installed that were either not requested or of the wrong amperage. However, there were also instances were there is no record and original documentation has gone missing. He said the disarray of the records was part of the reason why the turnaround team had instituted a forensic investigation into the electricity department. “We need to understand how the system allowed this to happen,” said Mettler.

In his latest cashflow report presented to Exco, the administrator said there was some improvement. He said the municipality was gradually working its way out of the woods and that the city’s income had increased.

For irate residents who struggle to get through to the municipality, the good news is that work has started on setting up a call centre. Funding for the project has been obtained from the Municipal Infrastructure Grant and phase one of the project is about to begin.

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