The City of Johannesburg says that higher-than-normal utility bills are accurate, as more consumers have used these facilities during the lockdown period.
The city has been an upsurge in customer queries for bills issued during the lockdown around increased prices. It said that ratepayers should use water and electricity more sparingly should they wish to see their bills return to normal.
The municipal jurisdiction said it has established that most of these utility bills are accurate, attributing higher municipal rates to unusual consumption, which shot up for both water and electricity during the lockdown.
“It must be noted that during the lockdown there was an increase in water usage for residential properties. This is directly linked to more people staying at home and only leaving to purchase essentials,” said the city’s MMC for finance Jolidee Matongo.
Matongo said that non-revenue water loss has also increased during the lockdown and this is due to non-reported leaks and ageing infrastructure.
“The city has continued to measure water, which has recorded more queries, on actual usage based on meter readings obtained,” he said.
Matongo said that the city’s council recently approved reduced tariffs for both water and electricity – from 8.6% to 6.6%, and from 8.10% to 6.23%, respectively, making higher-than-normal rates reasonable.
He says as lockdown rules continue to be relaxed, residents may start seeing their consumption returning to normal.
“Municipal account holders in financial distress are encouraged to contact the City’s Credit Control Department to make special payment arrangements via email on [email protected]
“Ratepayers who still wish to query their bills can log calls through regional offices,” said Matongo.