Residents queue in Newlands for drinking water from a spring on May 16 2017. File photo: THE TIMES/ESA ALEXANDER
Residents queue in Newlands for drinking water from a spring on May 16 2017. File photo: THE TIMES/ESA ALEXANDER

More Cape Town residents will receive estimated water accounts for January — and bills will be based on their consumption a year ago‚ rather than the reduced amount of water most people are using amid stringent restrictions.

In a statement on Tuesday‚ the city council said this was the result of capturing water meter readings in-house since January 1 instead of using a third party.

"Since this move‚ there have been technical challenges with uploading meter readings to the new system. As a result‚ some customers will receive estimated bills although their meter was read. Customers across the city will be affected‚" said the statement.

"The city acknowledges and regrets the frustration that estimated bills will cause many residents who have reduced water consumption drastically‚ but would like to re-assure them that we are doing everything possible to resolve the problem as speedily as possible."

The council asked people to settle the estimated accounts. "If the estimate is higher than the actual usage then their account will be adjusted appropriately the next time the actual meter reading is captured‚" it said.

"In cases where estimated consumption far exceeds actual consumption‚ and residents are unable to afford the bill‚ they can approach the city’s call centre or their closest walk-in centre to request an investigation. Debt management will be suspended until the investigation is resolved."

The council also said the method of estimating bills was being reviewed. "From March 1 2018‚ estimated accounts will be based on average consumption at the property for the previous three months. Residents should also please note that estimated readings could affect their green dot status on the city’s water map.

"Residents who have had their consumption estimated will rather be given a grey dot reflecting that no data exists for consumption on the property. Whilst this will cause some disappointment‚ it is important that we all continue to do our best to save water."

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