Johannesburg residents face a new threat of electricity cut-offs, for nonpayment of outstanding bills.
This means a moratorium on cut-offs imposed by the city council in March — to allow ratepayers to sort out inaccurate bills issued in the recent billing crisis — has been lifted.
Revenue spokesman Stan Maphologela said yesterday the city was “stepping up its credit control in order to collect outstanding debt”.
“The campaign began on May 1, with the sending of pre-termination notices to all defaulters, mainly companies, corporates, and state departments,” Maphologela said. “The second phase will be undertaken with domestic customers.
“The pre-termination notices were sent since last week. We will continue to cover all defaulters, and the intensity of the campaign will be felt towards the end of next week and month-end,” he said.
“Customers who have applied and qualified for discounts as well as customers who have logged queries, received reference numbers and ensured that the account is flagged, will be excluded from the credit control campaign.”
He said that to date 65000 billing queries had been received, 52000 of which were resolved.
Lee Cahill of the civil rights organisation, Johannesburg Advocacy Group, said the city’s claims of its account resolution rate could not be accurate. “On January 26 the former mayor, Amos Masondo, said there were 80000 inaccurate bills.
“The city later claimed there were ‘only’ 65000 incorrect bills. If we accept all of these figures are accurate, this equates to a resolution rate of about 1000 complaints every working day from January 26 to April 14. By way of comparison, the new National Consumer Commission announced last week it had managed to resolve 60 complaints since it opened on April 1. This is an average of 1.3 disputes a day. ”
Credit to: Business Day