Meter readers now to also work on weekends, says municipality

2014-09-05 00:00

METER readers will work over weekends to reach houses locked up during the week.

They will also have hand-held scanners to ensure there is no incorrect transfer of numbers.

These are some of the changes taking place on the Msunduzi meter reading front. This is to ensure that every water and electricity meter in the city is read after the municipality received a qualified audit from the auditor-general in 2012/13 over the high number of meters that were not read.

Municipal Public Accounts Committee (MPAC) chairperson Mike Tarr assured a full sitting of council this week that his committee is monitoring the situation. They have called for a full report on where the city was with improving its meter reading system.

Msunduzi’s chief financial officer Nelisiwe Ngcobo had earlier told MPAC that a meter task team had been formed, comprising officials from the infrastruture and the finance unit.

She said meter reading had improved but they were still struggling to get access to properties when people were at work. There were also instances where homeowners flatly refused the meter readers entry into their properties.

She said the meter readers also complained about being attacked by dogs.

This was why they introduced meter reading on weekends to those properties inaccessible during the week. Staff will work on a shift system not to incur overtime.

Tarr had said the team must not only focus on faulty meters but also on the work done by meter readers as there were complaints that they were not up to standard.

Ngcobo said that in this regard the municipality was in the process of acquiring hand-held devices to scan meters to read them. This was to ensure there was no incorrect transfer of numbers.

She added that the long-term plan involved installing smart meters that can be read from a remote location.

Ngcobo said part of the loan the municipality was currently applying for would be used to change all meters to smart meters.

She said this will make a huge difference and will do away with all the existing problems of locked properties, barking dogs and owners who refuse meter readers entry into their properties.


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