THE Greytown Gazette apologises to Umzinyathi District Municipality, which did email a reply to the “Water accounts ... interest charged on zero amounts!” published in last week's Greytown Gazette. Unfortunately, as a result of network problems this was not received.Sandile Ntuli of Umzinyathi District Municipality replied as follows: "Our system does not charge interest on a zero balance. Interest is only charged when there is an outstanding balance not paid before the due date."“Umzinyathi currently has four meter readers who undertake readings around the district on weekdays (they do not work weekends).” However, Mr Ntuli says: "Currently we have a problem with Enhlalakahle where our meter readers are being chased away and threatened. We advertised for 8 full-time meter readers last month in the local newspapers. The recruitment process will be commencing soon."In regard to the June water accounts received by Greytonians - the billing was on a 45-day period, not the usual 30 day. “Umzinyathi then adjusted the billing to 30 days which gave a zero balance for units and tariffs with a zero closing balance. However, if there was any amount outstanding interest would be raised on that outstanding balance. The system is programmed in a way that it will not raise interest on a zero balance.”In reply to a query as to why a business was charged R8.78 per kilolitre for the month of June, but for July the tariff was doubled to R16.79 per kilolitre, Mr Ntuli stated that, "In this financial year uMzinyathi District Municipality had to do [a] calculation of tariffs to be cost-reflective. “We had to calculate our tariffs using direct and indirect costs to produce water for the whole district. Our tariffs are reviewed annually as per MFMA and Budget. We were making a huge loss in the previous years because we needed to fix the ageing infrastructure and meter leaks." A comparison with other municipalities charges showed that Umzinyathi was charging less.Any consumer who still has a problem is asked to call at the Umzinyathi District Municipal offices at Greytown Aheers Centre during office hours, 7.30am to 4pm, Monday to Thursday and Friday 8am - 3pm.