City of Jo’burg overhauls troubled water billing system
The Democratic Alliance is settling in and finding its feet, making plans to address the many issues that envelope the country’s richest metro municipality – The City of Johannesburg. One such issue is water billing and how incorrect readings have had residents digging deeper into their pockets to meet their obligations.
In an interview with KayaNews senior journalist Pitso Molemane, Member of the Mayoral Committee (MMC) for Environment and Infrastructure Services Department (EISD) in the City, Councillor Anthony Still revealed that Jo’burg Water’s incorrect meter readings present a challenge for the city in a number of ways. This has led to many rate-payers in Johannesburg receiving unusually high monthly water bills. Still has, however, urged frustrated Johannesburg residents with queries on their municipal water accounts to contact any of the Joburg City walk-in centers or visit the Thuso House Customer Service Centre in Braamfontein.
As part of the City’s plan to fix the troubled water billing system Still says they are overhauling the water billing system. The City and Joburg Water are now employing their own meter readers.
“Johannesburg Water (JW) is currently in the process of migrating from having some meters read by contractors to full in-house meter reading. This process has involved the recruitment and training of meter reading staff. During the transition, there has been an increase in the numbers of customers billed on estimated consumption.
Resident’s bills may be higher than usual as the estimated consumption has been based on more days than the normal billing cycle of 30 days. Residents are however assured that the billing system will automatically adjust billing once an actual reading is taken. Residents must also remember that consumption at levels above 20 000 liters/month is currently subject to an increased drought-related tariff structure. The situation will soon be normalized and it is expected that the estimated reading percentage will decrease significantly from the next billing cycle,” said MMC Still.
Still has also encouraged residents to do self-checks- by reading their own meters, they can then send their readings with account numbers to firstname.lastname@example.org. “This must be done on the day that meters are read in their suburb. The appropriate day can be found by ascertaining the billing “Portion” on the front page of the bill – this will indicate a letter from A to U. The meter reading schedule corresponding to these “portions” is available on our website. Our meter readers can be identified by their JW branded blue overalls or bright yellow bibs. In addition, each of them carries JW staff ID with their name and employee number.
When in doubt residents can verify whether a person is an actual Johannesburg Water meter reader by visiting our website (www.johannesburgwater.co.za), where their photographs and names are clearly listed, he said.
Despite the measures being taken to correct the city’s water billing system, residents are still being urged to use water sparingly as the country battles water restrictions as a result of a drought.
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