Tshwane in bid to enforce use of pre-paid meters

Tshwane in bid to enforce use of pre-paid meters

The Tshwane Metro Council is looking at passing a by-law compelling households to have pre-paid meters within three years to improve its revenue collection.

Agreeing on a three-year prepayment roll-out strategy at the monthly meeting, executive mayor Kgosientso Ramokgopa said the council should pass a by-law compelling every household to be have pre-paid meters.

He said the debt for municipal services (water, electricity and rubbish removal) stood at R3.9 billion.

"At the current rate the municipality is unsustainable. The installation of pre-paid meters will alleviate this problem," said Ramokgopa.

According to the municipality, the credit control measures are not yielding the results hoped for and the debt is increasing while projected revenue is dropping.

If the status quo remains, the projected revenue will decrease beyond the municipality's sustainability.

The council agreed that all accounts exceeding R3 000 over 60 days be changed to pre-paid meters and that pre-paid meters be compulsory for new electricity accounts for rented premises and residential dwellings with high tenant turnover.

All accounts where a tenant's premises cannot be accessed for more than two months or where electricity meters are installed

Tshould be placed on the pre-paid meter system.

Tenders for meter installation have been invited with five service providers, and a third-party vendor tender is in place for three years for the extended reselling of electricity at retail merchants, including petrol stations and spaza shops.

DA councillor Professor Duncan Baker said the rolling out of prepayment electricity was a welcome development.

He said: "Following problems with getting clarification as to (their) electricity accounts, many residents have indicated an interest in using such meters.

"The reasons include the avoidance of electricity account queries, as well as allowing them to monitor their usage."

Baker said the municipality should start a programme to roll out devices that can cut the power to geysers remotely.

"The older example is the ripple relay system.

"Today, this can be done effectively using radio transmitters and receivers. Blocks of users could have the geysers turned off selectively."

Baker urged the municipality to investigate this option, "before Eskom starts to charge exorbitant rates whenever our peak demands exceed a certain level".

"With this in mind, we are reminded that Eskom, those 'princes of darkness', are again warning of power cuts this winter.

"I urge the council to take the matter of demand side management seriously."

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Denny Crane

Denny Crane
It's not me ... yet. Denny Crane from the TV series Boston Legal. Click on picture if you're not sure who he is!