Outrageous bills still slipping through cracks

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IOL money_nov 28 .

Johannesburg - An electricity bill for R4 million for a townhouse complex is quite acceptable, according to the City of Joburg.

The revenue department is still sending out massive bills for services, and has yet to provide an answer as to how the Windsor East complex, with 12 units, accumulated a bill of R4.2m.

According to city officials, their computer systems have a built-in warning system that is triggered if a bill is 50 percent higher or lower than a consumer’s average monthly consumption. If a bill is flagged, the computer is supposed to throw the account out of the system, and it is sent for investigation. However, many are slipping through the system.

City of Joburg revenue spokesman Stan Maphologela said the Windsor East complex was a “large power user, and, as such, a demand meter has been installed”.

Also, the bill is for a period of 1 019 days, and all payments made during this period have been taken into consideration, he said.

“This account was based on estimated readings, and it would be rather difficult to confirm correctness until meter verification has been undertaken. We are now waiting for a meter reading,” he said.

If the council’s bill is correct, it would mean each of the 12 units consumed an average of R10 000 a month’s worth of electricity for just over two-and-a-half years.

The Windsor East complex isn’t the only establishment to have received questionable bills from the council recently.

Dion Baumann received an account of R958 000 for electricity for a 32-day period, and cannot get answers out of the council.

“Nothing changes or improves at this totally incompetent government department.

“We have been to the City of Joburg six times, to no avail. To add insult to injury, they are adding interest,” Baumann said.

David Gadney is another frustrated resident. He received a bill for R2.2m for an empty building in Benrose, which he is renovating and has not taken occupancy of yet.

Since October, when he first reported the matter to Metrowatch, his bill has shot up from R2.2m to R2.9m.

Unknown meter numbers are being listed on his account and he cannot get the council to reverse them or look at the account.

The city has not replied to questions as to how these massive bills get through the computer system.

The Star

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