Durban — The Treasury Cluster recently announced that its Revenue Billing Unit will take over the responsibility of reading water and electricity meters, replacing the eThekwini Water and Sanitation Unit (EWS) and the Electricity Unit.
A report was tabled at the meeting of the eThekwini Finance Committee on April 19.
eThekwini Municipality ward 30 Councillor Warren Burne informed ratepayers this move had been in the pipeline for a few years, but the Electricity Unit and EWS had been resisting the move.
Burne said the DA welcomes the report, as the party had supported the proposed move for years.
At present, meter reading functions are managed by EWS and the Electricity Unit. Burne said once these readings were taken, either by municipal staff or by external service providers, the readings were sent to the Revenue Billing Department.
“The department then puts the charges to consumers’ accounts according to these readings. The new procedure will be for one person to read both the water meter and the electricity meter,” Burne said.
According to the report, Burne said, the backlog in meter readings stood at 80 416 unread electricity meters (13 849 of which have not been read for over one year) and 191 037 unread water meters (57 443 of which have not been read for over one year).
Burne said this is the reason residents regularly receive metro bills based on estimated consumption, which often seemed inflated.
“This move should decrease the number of metro bills based on estimated consumption. The proposal will entail the transfer of staff between the units. This will require detailed discussions with staff and trade unions to finalise the proposed structure.”
According to the report, the municipality is anticipating that this function transfer will be concluded by July 1.
Burne said residents would still be able to submit their water and electricity readings through the appointed channels when they were working.
eThekwini spokesperson Lindiwe Khuzwayo said the City had teams whose sole purpose was to investigate reports of illegal connections.
WhatsApp your views on this story to 071 485 7995