Who is stealing my electricity?

2018-10-02 06:00
Karen Cornelius shows the amount spent on electricity per day.PHOTO: aishah cassiem

Karen Cornelius shows the amount spent on electricity per day.PHOTO: aishah cassiem

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A couple from Heideveld is urging the City of Cape Town to fix an electricity issue on their premises, which has been troubling them for more than four years.

Before moving out of their two-bedroom flat in Fiona Court in 2013, Karen Cornelius (55) and her husband spent only R200 per month on electricity.

This was the maximum amount spent to light up the Cornelius home and that of several other families living in the same court.

However, things changed for the Cornelius family, after returning to the same property in 2014.

“This problem started when we moved back into the flat. We realised that R2000 was being spent on electricity every month, which has since amounted to R24 000 every year,” explains Cornelius.

“This is a ridiculous amount for only two people who hardly ever use electrical appliances inside their home and who only cook once a day.

“All our appliances like TVs, machines and fridges would be switched off, and then the units on the electric box would still be running down as if it (appliances) is on.”

Cornelius suspects that an illegal connection might have taken place during the time she and her husband moved out of the premises and that residents in another flat could be stealing her electricity.

“I am struggling to understand how my electricity can add to this amount. I believe that something fishy is going on here. It could be that someone connected our electricity to their home illegally, and if we are buying electricity for another family, then I don’t think it is right.

“I have to purchase between R50 and R80 worth of electricity every day. I can’t always afford it as both my husband and I don’t work.

“Everyone else in this court spends only R200 on electricity every month. I want the City to sort out this issue, because I can’t afford it at all.

“I have been to several City offices and no feedback or assistance has been given to me since 2014. The rental office also said it is not their problem and that I should have it sorted somewhere else.”

Xanthea Limberg, Mayco member for informal settlements, water, waste services and energy, says the City has investigated the matter.

“There is a main house and an occupied wendyhouse on the property. The one meter, which is the meter of the main house and that of the customer, supplies both the main house and the wendyhouse,” she explains.

“The fact that two households are supplied by the same meter would reflect in the bill as it would be the cost of what is used for two households. It seems to be an arrangement between the customer and the occupant(s) of the wendyhouse, situated on her property.

“The charges are thus based on the usage that there is on the property.”

The family disagrees with the investigation done by City and confirms that the wendyhouse was on the premises before they (family) moved out of the flat in 2013, and caused no electricity issues back then.

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