It’s about time Msunduzi gets back to fixing problems

2014-05-12 00:00

Meter readings demystified

Thanks to Leo Camp’s dogged persistence, we are now closer to solving the problem of how residents can submit their meter readings and make sure that what they submit is reflected on their bills.

Months ago Camp noticed that the meter readings he submitted were not being recorded. In April he wrote: “I received my latest statement and once again the reading and date has been amended to suit the municipality. My reading has been increased by 91 kwh. The reading that I had submitted on March 6 was 15 301. The municipal reading is 15 392 on March 11. Is there no end in sight to this incompetence or is this deliberate to meet their monthly expenditure?”

He and Witness Warriors received a response from the billing section saying that he was correct, his readings should have been used and a staffer was directed to investigate why his reading was not used. However, there was more to the e-mail; the staffer was also directed to check if Camp had an official agreement with the municipality to submit his own readings and if not please e-mail the consumer the contract forms.

Well, Camp did not immediately receive the form and both he and I searched the Msunduzi website for it without any luck. He eventually received the form on Friday afternoon and sent a copy to Witness Warriors on Saturday. We will follow up and inquire whether a copy of the contract form can be placed on the municipal website. It seems once you sign this form, then the municipality is obliged to use the readings that you submit and they will do an audit from time to time to check whether you as the consumer have been sending accurate readings.

More unfinished work

The elections certainly created more delays than usual in getting responses from the municipality.

James Mills sent a concern in April about a hole and a water leak on the east side of Alexandra Road just after the Ritchie Road intersection that has been in this state for more than four weeks!

He wrote: “There has not been anything done at this site since the water section were last there and put up safety tape and it continues.While pedestrians have a bit of leeway on the left of the hole to walk on the grass, if two people are approaching each other, the one inevitably is forced to walk on the road where vehicular traffic poses a risk to him or her.

“I cannot understand why municipal employees start jobs around the municipal area and never finish them. There is just no organisation or supervision.

“I wonder how much longer the hole and leak will continue?”

Well, it continued for weeks and last week Mills sent in another e-mail to report that the leak had still not been fixed.

Witness Warriors followed up what had happened to its own e-mail about this complaint sent to the municipality on April 22. We found that it had also become victim to staff being away over all the public holidays and had only been sent to the water section on May 8.

There was a positive response: It seems one of the supervisors went out to the site himself and instructed his staff to get going and fix the problem. Warriors has seen a copy of the instruction to the staff. It said the supervisor found the site worse than is described in the e-mail from the Witness. “I need this leak to be repaired immediately then backfilled and reinstated asap,” the instruction said. We will follow up to find out whether it has indeed been fixed.

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