Good party leader Patricia de Lille. Picture: Ayanda Ndamane/African News Agency (ANA)
Good party leader Patricia de Lille. Picture: Ayanda Ndamane/African News Agency (ANA)

GOOD Party seeks to put a stop to City’s ’illegal use’ of electricity meters as a debt collection mechanism

By Tarryn-Leigh Solomons Time of article published Oct 13, 2021

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IF THE Good Party wins Cape Town after the November 1 elections, the political party will prevent the illegal use of pre-paid electricity meters as a debt collecting mechanism.

This is according to the party’s mayoral candidate Brett Herron who said an immediate moratorium would be placed on the City of Cape Town’s practice of using pre-paid electricity meters as a “debt collecting mechanism”.

However, if the party doesn’t win, the party will continue the fight as they intend to seek the assistance of a public interest law firm to stop the practice in court, Herron said.

“The debt collecting mechanism makes it impossible for consumers to buy electricity without losing some of the electricity units they have paid for.

“If you can’t afford to pay your municipal accounts then you forego your rights to fair electricity provision; the City is effectively telling hard-pressed consumers.

“No family should be denied access to basic services such as water or electricity by the imposition of unaffordable tariffs,” he said.

Herron said the use of the pre-paid electricity meter system to forcibly get debt payments from residents is unlawful.

In Herron’s view, the City claims the powers of “judge, jury and executioner” when residents run into arrears, thus not allowing any disputes.

“To further mitigate against the system, in terms of the tariff regulations for electricity, a consumer should get the units they pay for.

“If a consumer pays for R100 worth of electricity, s/he should receive R100 worth of units. Not, however, how many units the City of Cape Town decides,” he said.

While residents battle to afford electricity rates, Herron said the City adds further insult to injury by imposing a mark-up on the Nersa approved electricity tariff.

“Residents are struggling. Unemployment is at an all-time high. Rather than punish those with the least to spend, the City must show that it has a conscience and that it respects the law,” Herron added.

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