SOURCE OF CONCERN: Many Cape Town residents have complained about high water bills they’ve received. Consumers were reminded of the higher tariffs that came into effect on July 1.
Picture: Reuters/Mike Hutchings
Cape Town - The flood of complaints over high municipal accounts is streaming in unabated, as more ratepayers have come forward with high accounts.

Added to residents’ water woes are the electricity surcharge of R150 that is being charged for homeowners with property values in excess of R1million.

Rolene Liebenberg, a resident of Meadowridge, near Constantia, said she received a bill of R16000 in May.

“I am one of those citizens in a single household. I provided proof to the City of Cape Town of my water consumption trend from January 2017, in which I brought my monthly consumption down from 12Kl per month to 3Kl per month. I received a water bill of R16000 in May for 43Kl, which is not consistent with my aim to bring down consumption,” she said.

“I too queried whether prior readings were 'actual’, as reflected in my past account statements and whether the sudden random taking of readings and photographs is not bringing to the fore errors in readings way back. But it’s simply not possible that a one member household with a low consumption can suddenly be issued a R16000 bill,” Liebenberg said.

She wrote to the City’s Ombudsman who is investigating the matter.

Emlyn Hammond of Diep River said as a result of extensive building work at his home and obvious increased water usage, he was alerted to the high water usage by the City.

“Well this is where my nightmare unfolded. As a good citizen I did the motivation, attaching all supporting documents, while the City’s crude and punitive solution and response to this was an immediate installation of a water meter.

"Then the sudden high estimation with huge billing began.

"Bearing in mind now I had limited water and if I reached this limit the meter cuts off, yet the billing was estimated far beyond the amount of kilolitres allowed,” he said.

Residents are reminded of the higher electricity tariff that came into effect on July 1.

There is a home-user tariff that will be for all credit metered-customers, and all prepayment metered-customers with a municipal property valuation of R1m and more.

This tariff has a standard service charge of R150 per month (on top of their monthly bills), with (0-600kWh per month users) charged R1.85/kWh.

Users who received above 600kWh per calendar month are charged R2.55/- kWh. The City says that the figures for all tariffs apply per calendar month from the 1st of the month to the last day of the month, and not per purchase.

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Cape Argus