Power bills: businesses explore legal options

2010-09-30 00:00

MORE than 30 members of the city’s business community met this week to explore options to legally challenge the municipality over exorbitant electricity bills.

Other business people, similarly affected, can join the initiative by phoning Tamlyn at 033 394 6648 and giving her the name of your business and all contact details.

Advice to those present at the meeting was not to panic nor allow themselves to be intimidated or threatened into paying the full amount. Instead people were advised to pay their account as usual.

For example, if their normal account is R2 000 a month, then they should pay this and, in writing, declare a dispute for the outstanding balance. William Walker, who was at the meeting, said a number of them had done this. Walker warned that the letter declaring a dispute must not be faxed or e-mailed. It is best to hand it over personally at the municipal offices in 333 Church Street. He said people must hand over the letter together with a copy of proof of payment of the amount normally paid and get an acknowledgement of receipt of the “declaration of dispute” letter that is handed in.

According to Walker, the mood at the meeting was one of anger. Those present felt that in its single-minded pursuit to fill up the coffers of the municipality emptied by the previous incumbents at City Hall, the current administration was acting recklessly. People felt they were being “blackmailed” when they were told pay up or their electricity will be cut.

According to Walker, he was being charged an amount of over R45 000 because they said he had a 40 amp MCB and had been paying for a 30 amp MCB. “When we queried this we were told to go and get our jacket or file from the electricity department in Havelock Road.

“When we went there, written down in black and white was our application for a 30 amp MCB. Somebody at the municipality had messed up and fitted in the wrong MCB. If they had simply gone and pulled out the file, they would have discovered this,” he said.




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