Johannesburg has a low cost of living, with impresses long-term visitors to the city / File photo

Joburg resident left reeling after receiving R17m water and electricity bill

While South Africans are known to be sceptics of their rates account. An amount like this is enough to endanger the health of any home or business owner.


Johannesburg has a low cost of living, with impresses long-term visitors to the city / File photo

Imagine going about your monthly business to find out that you suddenly owe R17m on your water and electricity bill. The next thing you know, your chances of suffering a heart attack have risen dramatically.

City of Joburg water and electricity bill nightmare

IOL has revealed the story of Brixton resident Nico Niemand who owns two semi-detached houses in the suburb.

While he says that he has been battling an inflated bill for three years, he was left completely taken aback when he received the R17m bill in June.

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The bill shows an actual reading period between 3 October 2017 and 29 May 2018.

Niemand would usually rent the houses out but has been unable to do so due to constant disconnection notices bring places on the wall. He claims that he has lost R900 000 in income over the past three years.

“People don’t want to rent these houses as they are known to be problematic with frequent threats of disconnection. They have been standing empty, with no usage of water or electricity, except for one outside security lamp which uses about R300 a year in electricity,” Niemand told IOL.

It seems the problem may have started when fake City Power officials arrived at his door to replace his meter with a smart one. It cost him R2000 and it definitely didn’t all turn out to be for his benefit.

“I later found that this meter was stolen and had not been connected to the City Power database. The man who installed the meter assured me he would return with a card, which meant that the meter was registered. But we never saw him again. My municipal bills were fully paid up; in fact, in credit of some R5 000 because I had overpaid.”

Niemand has laid charges against the City and City Power for using “fraudulent metres to generate bills”.

Niemand says that he has had over 30 meetings with city officials. All have resulted in no action taking places.

City of Joburg Mayor Herman Mashaba has previously acknowledged that there are a number of billing problems facing the city.