Let meter readers in or risk a blackout

2010-08-06 00:00

RATEPAYERS be warned.

If you continue to prevent meter readers from coming into your properties so they can read your meters, you may have your services disconnected in future.

This is the tough new stance being taken by the Msunduzi Municipality, revealed at yesterday’s sitting of the executive committee (Exco).

Intervention team member Ben Dorfling said they are billing 20% less than they should be, because residents are refusing to allow meter readers access to their properties.

“The non-reading of meters is a real threat to how we bill people … and it is affecting our levies,” said Dorfling.

DA caucus whip Rodger Ashe said the municipality has approved a policy that allows them to take action against those who do not allow meter readers to take readings in their properties. According to this policy, the municipality can take action against homeowners who bar meter readers from carrying out readings by cutting their services off, said Ashe.

“We must notify them of this policy because they are quick to complain when they get estimated bills,” he said.

Dorfling said people must realise that if they do not pay the municipality, they are jeopardising the livelihood of other people.

“We need to get money in to pay staff, councillors and creditors. If criminals want to reconnect themselves, there will be trouble,” he said.

The criminals Dorfling made reference to were those who were reconnecting their electricity after the municipality had disconnected them for non-payment.

He said the municipality went to great lengths to put in restrictions at great cost, but some people were taking them out and accessing services illegally.

He said they have come across instances where some people owed the municipality R100 000 and the last payment they made was five years ago.

“We’ve got to get tough and that’s the long and short of it. People must pay. Those who steal [services] are stealing from the poorest of the poor, not the municipality,” said Msunduzi Mayor Mike Tarr.

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