No City Power help for defaulting customers
Johannesburg metro utility steps up its drive to recover at least R10bn owed by residents
City Power says it will no longer respond to outage calls from customers who refuse to pay for electricity, including those with nonvending meters, and defaulting clients.
The Johannesburg power utility said on Tuesday the decision came as it battled grid pressures amid load-shedding and low revenue collection.
The entity has started an auditing process of customers’ meters to assess their vending history before dispatching a team to attend to calls.
“During a medium-voltage outage, at least 70% should be paying customers; if not, our technicians will not go ahead with investigation, repairs or restore power in those areas,” said spokesperson Isaac Mangena.
City Power also said it had written to the residents of Naturena, in Johannesburg South, informing them of its decision until its teams are allowed to enter the area to ensure revenue collection is enhanced. Residents have been given until Friday to allow a team in the area to audit meters.
“Should the resistance continue, we will no longer respond to power outages in Naturena from May 12,” he said.
Mangena said the power entity embarked on a citywide programme to ensure citizens paid for its services.
“For those that can’t pay, the city has programmes to assist,” he said.
He said that City Power was within its rights to ensure it installed prepaid meters for revenue collection on behalf of the city.
In recent months, the entity has embarked on an aggressive drive to collect money from all its customers in the city.
“This is about R10bn we are owed by the residents of the City of Joburg. In addition, City Power has embarked on a programme to audit and normalise meters across the seven regions.”
Mangena said the programme would also assist City Power to organise its data and ensure unmetered customers, especially in less affluent areas, have smart meters that will enable them to not only buy electricity, but also assist it to remotely monitor and control the load as it battles with load-shedding.
“Customers with bridged or bypassed meters and defaulting customers are encouraged to visit their nearest service delivery centre to make payment arrangements ,” he said.
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