Tshwane water, electricity billing irregularity exaggerated, says chief of staff Jordan Griffiths
Share this article:
Pretoria - The scale of the issues related to water and electricity billing in the City of Tshwane is exaggerated, the metro's chief of staff Jordan Griffiths claims.
Griffiths was reacting to a report recently by the Public Protector, advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane, stating that some residents incurred high water and electricity bills because of the metro’s failure to take meter readings regularly.
Mkhwebane’s investigation looked into about 70 complaints from residents between 2018 and this year, who were unhappy that their queries were not solved by the City.
Griffiths said: “There are a few things about the public protector’s report.
“The first thing is that the scale of the issue is somehow totally exaggerated.”
He cited that at least 70 complaints were received by the public protector while the City has more than 900 000 billing accounts.
He also said many of the issues contained in the report had already been resolved before the report was released last week.
“The one issue, for instance, was meter reading, which is up by 85%. One of the challenges was that when the administrators were appointed last year, they suspended those processes. When we got back to the office we found that meter reading was at 27%, but now it is at 85%,” he said.
He said that the public protector report also acknowledged that the City had rolled out meter reading and that consultation was happening regularly.
“Complaints have significantly decreased,” he said.
Sharing the same sentiments was finance MMC Mare-Lise Fourie, who said: “One of the challenges related to account payments has been estimations on customer accounts, which has led to some customers disputing their account balances. At the beginning of 2021, Group Financial Services committed to address and improve the reading of meters in Tshwane.”
Fourie said the meter readings and resultant billing of accounts “based on actual readings has improved from 27% since we took office to 85% for the month of September 2021, with a total of 548 568 actual readings recorded”.
In some areas, she said, meter readings have even reached the 99% mark, with areas such as Soshanguve remaining relatively high at 92% and Bronkhorstspruit areas were as high as 95%.
“The City pleads with community members to work with the City to ensure that we can read as many meters as possible. In addition, the City would like to request that customers allow meter readers access to their properties, where applicable, to take actual readings,” she said.