Power tariff credits delayed

2014-03-14 00:00

WITH Pietermaritzburg businesses just receiving their March electricity bills there are indications that many have not been credited as a result of the tariff reversal.

One businessperson, Shane Amod not only did not get credited for the money owed to him, he also found an amount of R750 added onto his account as a disconnection fee, for not paying the money that in fact is owed to him. To add insult to injury, his lights were never disconnected, so he is paying for something that never happened.

After getting no joy at the municipality, attorney Farouk Jasat turned to the Pietermaritzburg Chamber of Business (PCB). The Chamber had taken up the issue when commercial electricity tariffs went up by over 900%. The municipality said this was on the instruction of the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (Nersa), who in turn said the municipality misunderstood their instruction and the tariffs were reversed.

Businesses were expecting the extra money they paid to be reflected as a credit on their February accounts. The municipality said then that they were working on the reversals and to expect the credits on their March accounts.

However, as businesses started getting their accounts it appeared that some have been credited and others not. But the verdict on how many have not been credited is still open and businesses are still receiving their accounts.

The matter was raised in the Executive Committee (Exco) meeting yesterday with DA councillor Mergan Chetty quoting Jasat’s case and asking why the matter was not credited and that he had to go to PCB for help.

Municipal manager Mxolisi Nkosi confirmed that the credits had been passed and said he had been informed by the PCB about some accounts that had not been credited. He said the municipality was prepared to look at the individual cases.

PCB CEO Melanie Veness said that they had offered to help facilitate the process as a service to the business community. She said people who had not been refunded could e-mail their details to pcb@pcb.org.za.

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