‘City overcharging us’

2018-07-24 15:45

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A frustrated Pietermaritzburg attorney has accused Msunduzi Municipality of “deliberately not sending statements” so that it can disconnect electricity on the basis of short payment.

Pranesh Indrajith said in papers before the city’s high court on Tuesday that it is well known the municipality disconnects electricity on weekends. Such conduct is “unreasonable and unfair having regard to the fact that the municipality has not got its own house in order”, he said.

Indrajith, who lives with his wife and son in Raisethorpe, was slapped with a R40 000 water bill in October last year, when his average water and electricity account is normally between R3 000 and R4 000 a month. He has been querying this with the municipality and has received no joy.

In addition, he has not received his account since April and continues to pay the average. He does not know if he is paying too little, because no one at the relevant municipal department picks up the phone, he says.

His wife recently spotted a man in a vehicle “lurking around the premises attempting to disconnect the electricity”.

Indrajith said he feared he might do so and to stop this he turned to the court for an interdict to prevent the municipality from disconnecting his electricity supply. He also seeks a full and complete statement relating to charges in respect of his electricity and water.

The application was adjourned to a date to be arranged.

“Maybe this application could be of benefit to all the consumers in Pietermaritzburg and may also prevent the municipality acting in a high-handed manner without due regards to the paying consumer,” he said.

He added that he has always paid his electricity and water account on time.

Following the exorbitant bill, he called a plumber to check if there were any leaks. None were found. He subsequently found out that the water meter reading was wrongly reflected on the bill. Instead of the first digit being two, it was three, which was why the bill was so high. He added that the municipality installed a new water meter in April, but had still not rectified the mistake.

Indrajith said in March there was another error on the bill, which reflected he owed R6 623 for that month. He said there is no justification for this when the debit usually amounts to about R3 009. He tried to resolve this with the municipality but also failed.

“It is therefore clear that the municipality is deliberately overcharging by inserting incorrect figures so as to bolster its coffers. It is going to receive monies that it is not lawfully entitled to,” the attorney said.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  msunduzi municipality

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