Johannesburg residents might soon be forced to install prepaid water and electricity meters in their houses.
This comes as the city’s billing system, named Project Phakama, which was supposed to sort out problems with residents’ municipal accounts, resulted in chaos.
In a reply to questions from DA councillor Marian Kemp, Joburg Water said it planned to roll out pre-paid water meters to every household across the city.
But details as to when, how and the costs involved were not available.
City Power has the same plans, saying it had already installed pre-paid electricity meters in about 16584 households in Roodepoort, Tshepisong and Matholeville.
The city’s revenue collection has in recent months come under severe pressure as a result of the city’s inability to properly bill its customers.
The implementation of the R580-million Project Phakama, an IT system aimed at creating a single-stop invoicing centre where accounts would be centralised into one billing database, is struggling to cope.
Council spokesman Nthatisi Modingoane said the prepaid meters were one of several options being considered to distribute electricity.
“The city will study the results of the pilot project before making a decision on the future roll-out of pre-paid meters and in which regions of Johannesburg it might be feasible”.
He said a pre-paid system would help customers manage their own usage, as well as help the city to increase revenue collection.
He said the final decision on whether the systems will be rolled out, and if so, when, would be influenced by council’s future budget priorities.
DA caucus in the Joburg council, councillor Vasco Da Gama, said: “We have no problem with pre-paid meters, but it must be negotiated with communities.”
Credit to: Times Live
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