Residents who tamper with their meters will be left in the dark. Picture: Ziphozonke Lushaba
Residents who tamper with their meters will be left in the dark. Picture: Ziphozonke Lushaba

Meddle with your meter and you will be left in the dark, warns Msunduzi Municipality

By Thami Magubane Time of article published Aug 28, 2020

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Durban - Residents who have tampered with their pre-paid electricity meters will be left in the dark as the Msunduzi Municipality moves to disconnect them.

City officials said they planned to audit about 22 000 prepaid meters that do not show readings or show unreliable readings that do not line up with the usage, with the intention to disconnect them.

The decision comes after councillors raised concerns about the rampant theft of electricity and the municipality’s failure to connect residents that had asked to be moved to prepaid meters.

The theft is widespread, and among the areas affected is the city centre, Imbali township, and parts of the Northdale and Edendale areas. A councillor speculated the city could be suffering losses of up to R1 million a day. Residents were suspected of hiring electricians to tamper with the mechanism of the meter or by-pass it, to avoid being billed.

General municipal manager for Infrastructure Services, Ngangenkosi Mpisi, said the city was looking to address the issue urgently.

“The 22 000 prepared meters that do not record a reading or show erratic readings or where there are concerns that the customers have tampered with the meters, the city will audit them.”

ACDP councillor Rienus Niemand said he did not see the point of the audit, warning that while the municipality moved slowly to address the issue, it continued to lose millions each day because of the theft.

“We know how many prepaid meters we have, that is why we know that people are stealing. We do not need to be doing any kind of study on this issue, what needs to happen is for us to go out every day and start with the disconnections,” he said

Councillor Jabu Ngubo said council should revive the initiatives like the amnesty programme to encourage those who connected illegally to come forward.

Another councillor said people were starting to realise they needed to play their part in service delivery and should pay for their services.

“They know that in order to have a stable network either it be water or electricity, they need to pay for those services.”

The Mercury

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