Water bill leaps after

2011-05-13 00:00

IS the area around your water meter overgrown, or is the water meter inaccessible? If so, you may find yourself paying for it later.

From a water bill of less than R1 000 a month, Nomdumiso Mhlongo is now facing a demand for R8 000 from the municipality.

When she visited the water and sewage complaints department, she discovered that the water meter at her home in Pelham had not been read since October last year. This was apparently because it was overgrown with grass and covered with mud.

Without the correct reading, the municipality issued her a bill based on an estimate. When they did manage to read the meter, it turned out that the estimate had been way off and Mhlongo is now responsible for the difference.

“I am angry. I budgeted according to their estimates,” said Mhlongo. She added that she would have been more than happy to have her gardener clean around the water meter if she had been aware of the problem.

Municipal spokesperson Brian Zuma, says, “It is common practice that the area outside the fence is maintained by the owner of the residence, and the meter is normally within that area.”

“If [Mhlongo] is found to have been billed correctly, she can approach the municipality to make payment arrangements. If the fault is on our side, it will be rectified,” Zuma added.

The complaints department recommended to Mhlongo that in future she read her own meter, and bring in the reading each month.

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