File photo: Matthews Baloyi

Johannesburg - A Joburg woman whose electricity was disconnected by Eskom for failing to pay a R640 000 bill took on the giant power supplier in court, and won.

Glynese de Villiers, of Linbro Park, said she’s had problems with her Eskom account for 22 years.

For the first few years, she never got an account, and every time she tried to pay, they would not take her money. Then she started getting accounts of about R1 200 a month, which she paid. Suddenly, in 2011, she received a bill for R368 000 and she has been trying to sort it out ever since. Eskom now claims she owes it this money from 2004.

De Villiers contacted an attorney after Eskom disconnected her power almost four weeks ago.

“Even if I did owe the money, which I am disputing, they cannot back-charge for so many years,” she said.

On Friday, De Villiers launched an urgent application in the high court for reconnection of power.

The matter was settled and made an order of court. In it, Eskom agreed to reconnect her immediately, which it did on Friday. It also agreed that an independent person would be called in to check and read the meters.

“I had to take this drastic route even though I may be liable for the legal costs, which will be around R15 000,” said De Villiers.

“I have on the premises a 94-year-old mother, a deaf man, a bipolar son-in-law and an epileptic husband, in addition to seven staff members. I also run a bed and breakfast, so this disconnection was hurting a lot of people.”

De Villiers said she was forced to buy a generator at a cost of R17 000 to keep the household going. She believes she is being charged for a three-phase meter instead of a one-phase meter.

“I am also considering a counter-claim against Eskom for the loss of food and the cost of diesel for the generator,” she said.

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The Star