A PINETOWN mother has allegedly fallen prey to the new Metro billing system when she was notified that her power would be cut if she did not pay the remaining sum of R R6 764.87.
Kalaivani Naicker, a single mother of two, has sent through her own readings for the past two years via SMS on the seventh day of each month. Naicker’s consolidated Metro bills ranged from R2 500 to R4 500.
“When they had the take over in June and July I was still sending through my reading via the SMS line. I never received any bills in June, July and August,” said Naicker. The last recorded bill she received was in May for the amount of R3 300.
“After a while, I received a bill for June and had already paid it, which was R3 800. For each month I never received a bill I just paid R4 000. The real problem started in August when I received a bill total for R10 041.60. I got such a shock. It noted that I needed to pay R6 062.60, by 9 September,” said Naicker.
She took a day’s leave on 29 August and visited the municipal offices. “I was told by a man that I had to pay half the amount on that day and needed to make an arrangement to pay the other amount. They estimated my electricity usage to be 48kw per day,” said Naicker.
“I do not pull that much current. I have done everything possible to drop my usage. I switch off my geyser and before I go to bed I pull out each and every single plug from the sockets.”
She sent an email to the local ward councillor, Melanie Brauteseth, who put her in contact with an official from the municipality. “I have been living in this home for 15 years and nothing has changed,” said Naicker. “The municipal official responded and told me my deep freezer was pulling current. He then told me there was another building on my property. There is only one home here but he insisted that there was second building that was pulling current.”
Each month she has continued to deposit R4 000 and on her latest bill it stated, ‘Please note that your account remains in arrears and should payment not be received, legal action will be instituted.’ She said, “My fear is that they come and turn off my electricity and I then have to go and look for R6 000 cash for them to come and reconnect my electricity. I’m not saying give me something for nothing, I am just wanting this to be sported out.”
Melanie Fraser-Brauteseth said, “I have been corresponding with the resident concerned and also liaising with the relevant officials at the revenue department. We are extremely concerned about the billing crisis and are actively involved in resolving resident issues.” Brauteseth urged Highway residents who are experiencing similar problems to email her at email@example.com.