Cape Town power outage

Parts of Cape Town will not have electricity for eight hours next week. Image via Adobe Stock.

Faulty Electricity Billing Latest: 86% say complaints not handled

KwaZulu-Natal residents have complained about a high rate of incorrect electricity bills and unread meters in a recent survey.

Cape Town power outage

Parts of Cape Town will not have electricity for eight hours next week. Image via Adobe Stock.

The Democratic Alliance (DA) has written to KwaZulu-Natal Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs (CoGTA) MEC, Sipho Hlomuka, calling on him to conduct an investigation into the allegedly incorrect and unfair electricity and water billing in the province.
DA MPL and spokesperson on CoGTA, Chris Pappas, said a survey of more 770 residents across the province had identified billing as a key challenge, as most municipalities were allegedly failing to provide adequate and fair billing services.
He said the finding had confirmed the experience of councillors who were inundated with complaints about incorrect and unfair municipal bills.
“The DA is extremely concerned about the poor-quality billing that is taking place and which is leading to incorrect and unfair municipal accounts,” Pappas said.
Key findings of the province-wide survey on municipal electricity and water bills included:

  • 47% of residents are receiving estimated bills
  • 26% of residents indicated that their water meters are never read
  • 29% of residents indicated that their electricity meters are never read
  • 28% of municipal self-reporting services do not work
  • 19% of respondents have received an incorrect bill more than once, while 12% say every bill is wrong.

“The findings are both shocking and alarming and the DA is worried that KZN’s residents are being unfairly treated by inefficient and ineffective revenue management services in their respective municipalities. Not only does this affect residents’ pockets but it also affects the financial viability of municipalities,” Pappas said.

Further results from the electricity billing survey showed:

  • 86% of residents claim that their municipality does not respond to their complaints efficiently and effectively
  • 52% say that their municipal dispute resolution processes do not work and;
  • 71% indicated that they are not aware of any debt relief programme within their municipalities.

“In a written parliamentary reply to questions by the DA, MEC Hlomuka specified that good practice municipalities should be reading meters monthly while estimations should not exceed three months,” Pappas said.
“The MEC also indicated that residents should be given notice and letters of demand if the municipality intends cutting them off, a process which is currently not happening consistently or fairly.”

Call to investigate unfair electricity billing

He said the MEC had also confirmed that his department holds annual reviews into the credit control and debt collection policies of all municipalities.
“If this is the case, then why do the DA survey results reveal such shocking results when it comes to customer service around billing? The DA calls on MEC Hlomuka to put the people of KZN first and investigate the scale of incorrect and unfair billing in the province. In addition, we call on him to implement a provincial strategy to protect residents and ensure that municipalities have functional and fair revenue management,” Pappas said