File Picture: ANA
Durban - CHATSWORTH residents are up in arms over apparently higher-than-normal monthly utility bills received from the city in recent months.

Residents claim that their water and electricity bills have almost doubled. They have flocked to the local eThekwini office in recent weeks, demanding to know the reasons behind the amounts, only to be told to pay up or risk being disconnected.

A Westcliff pensioner said she was shocked when her November bill amounted to R12 900, more than double her usual bill. On querying the amount, she was told she had been billed for a three-month reading.

“They told me to make payment arrangements over a period of time to cover the amount. This is daylight robbery. What sort of festive season will we have? What happened to the amounts I have been paying monthly?” she asked.

Bobby Naidu said nobody in the city could explain how his bill escalated from R4000 per month to R9500 payable before December 14, or his water would be disconnected.

“The officials said I might have a water leak, but nothing is wrong with my pipes. The electrician who checks the meters said he will come back in March to take a reading. This is unfair. I am not the only one being robbed in the area,” Naidu said.

Ward 70 councillor Tony Govender said this was a city-wide problem. He advised those with big bills to visit the eThekwini offices in Chatsworth to fill in a dispute document, stating they were not liable for the excessive electricity and water billing.

“Pay your normal amount. Keep a copy so they cannot disconnect your supply. All councillors are complaining that they are having this problem,” Govender said.

eThekwini Municipality spokesperson Msawakhe Mayisela said a team was contracted to the city to read water meters on a monthly basis. He said in instances where a meter reading had not been obtained, for whatever reason, the account was estimated.

He advised that customers who received high bills should contact the Customer Service Department.

“The explanations for the bills being high may vary, hence the need for an investigation. Once the actual meter reading has been obtained, the account is adjusted for the account holder to be billed based on the actual reading. This would give an indication of the actual water consumption, for which the customer would be liable to pay,” he said.

Daily News