uMgungundlovu apologises for R1,69 million water bill to pensioner

2015-06-08 09:18
On the left is a Howick woman's water bill for May. On the left is her water bill for April. The difference is close to R1,7 million.

On the left is a Howick woman's water bill for May. On the left is her water bill for April. The difference is close to R1,7 million. (Chelsea Pieterse)

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A HOWICK woman had the shock of her life when she received her May water bill for over R1,691 million.

The woman, who asked not to be named, said she had worked in a bank for most of her life and had paid her water bills in excess every month. She said she was “shocked” when she received May’s bill for R1 692 031,80.

“I write down all my meter readings in a book every month and when the time comes to pay, I pay above the amount that is due.

“I do not owe them any money. They owe me money. They have never come onto my property to take a reading, so I do not know how they have come up with this astronomical figure.”

The resident, who is a great-grandmother and lives alone, showed The Witness records of meter readings, bills paid and bills sent by uMgungundlovu from previous months.

April’s water bill showed she owed only R407 to the department, however, May’s bill took an astronomical leap to well over R1 million.

“I have worked it all out, I have written letters, I have called and invited the department officials to sort out the bills over tea but I have had no feedback.

“I am a pensioner and I am very meticulous in writing down my budget and how much I spend every month.

“When I first received the bill, my family and I laughed about it. The amount was just too ridiculous but now I am worried about having a bad credit rating, which has never happened to me in my life.”

The pensioner said she knew of two other people in Howick who also received “astronomical” water bills.

“For this to happen within such a small circle of people, I wonder who else has received high water bills?”

“I want to know how this happens. Surely somebody checks the bills before they are sent out. Somebody should have realised. This is total incompetence on uMgungundlovu’s side,” she said.

uMgungundlovu municipal spokesperson Soya Magida said the municipality acknowledged the water bill for the pensioner was incorrect.

“This was as a result of an error in the billing for April which affected only 998 accounts of the 30 000 accounts issued monthly. The accounts have since been corrected and are to be issued to all affected customers.”

He said the manager for revenue checked all outgoing bills and in addressing the issue the municipality had corrected the statements.

“To ensure that the customers are satisfied, we urge our customers to advise us of any inaccuracies and also update their details, as we also send e-statements. We urge all customers that have further queries to contact either our Customer Care Services that are throughout the District or our 24hour Call Centre 0800 964 911.”

“The ICT section unit is currently investigating the cause of the glitch on the system that caused the erroneous bills which have subsequently been corrected. “UMDM profusely apologises for the inconveniences caused to its customers.”

Read more on:    howick  |  water

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