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Why must I pay for services if floods destroyed my home? eThekwini municipality explains utility bills

01 June 2022 - 11:17
Underground water, telecommunications and electricity infrastructure damaged in uMdloti.
Underground water, telecommunications and electricity infrastructure damaged in uMdloti.
Image: Ant Tulleken

The eThekwini municipality has issued a water billing explainer after the floods, spelling out how and why residents will be billed.

This comes after outrage from many who questioned why they were being billed when they had no water and electricity for weeks after the floods in April and May. 

“If your meter wasn’t read, then estimations are done,” said the municipality. 

“Should you experience charges for water and electricity while you did not consume such services, forward your query to the city’s water and electricity departments.”

Residents should forward their meter readings so they could be charged accordingly. 

“On receipt of the meter reading, adjustments will be made.”

How often is my water and electricity meter read? 

Billing cycles are a period or number of days from the last day you were billed to the next billing date, said the municipality. 

“Water meters should be read monthly and electricity meters should be read every three months.”

What should I do if my bill is higher than my usage?

Residents are urged to visit a Sizakala Centre to query the account if their bill is higher than the usage.

“You will be advised of the issues resulting in an anomaly, if any, on your account. It is advisable to provide the current reading on your meter so the account can be corrected.”

Can I make a payment arrangement if I lost income due to flooding? 

Yes, you can visit the city’s credit control section to make payment arrangements. 

“Council has approved the debt relief programme where, if you make arrangements before June 30, you can benefit from interest write-offs and a certain percentage of your capital debt. This will be according to the terms and conditions of the agreement you sign.”

Will I still be charged for services if my home is destroyed?  

The municipality advised that those who lost their homes or no longer live in them due to the floods should report the situation. 

“Due to estimations being done on consumption of services where there are no actual meter readings, it will be advisable that you report the situation.

“Once reported, the municipality will send inspectors to confirm that the property is unhabitable and no services are being used before termination of the account can be done. 

“Residents are also advised to report destroyed water pipes or they will be liable to pay for consumption. 

“Such situations must be reported to the municipality so that it can be verified and a decision taken whether the customer is liable or not. Master testing will be done to establish if everything is working properly.”

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