City Power, Naturena residents square off over disconnections

City Power, Naturena residents square off over disconnections

City Power estimates it loses an estimated R30 million per year from defaulting and non-paying customers in Naturena, south of Johannesburg, alone.

City Power Naturena Cut Off drive
Masechaba Sefularo/Jacaranda FM News

The utility conducted its cut-off drive targeting businesses and residents that were in the red amid a tense stand-off on Tuesday morning.

Head of Revenue Collection Thami Matiso said the operation forms part of the metro’s aggressive revenue collection initiatives that the city manager has sanctioned.

According to him, Naturena owes the City of Johannesburg over R200 million in unpaid rates and service bills.

“We’ve been engaging with the community since around April this year, requesting them to come and replace their meters for free. We understand that more than half of that community is not paying for electricity.”

The utility’ spokesperson, Isaac Mangena, said community leaders agreed to have the area’s electricity regularised through the installation of smart meters after City Power invested R9 million to address historical network issues, including cable theft.

READ: City Power ramps up efforts to curb cable theft

Resident Bafana Ramoneng acknowledged there was an agreement between themselves and City Power, but he said their concerns had not been addressed.

“They were still supposed to come back to us and do demonstrations of this gadget. We said to them that [the meter] is running abnormally.

“There are a few houses that have had it installed, and the people there are complaining because these things run even when you’re not plugged in.”

But Matiso said City Power doesn’t control the meters how the meters run, adding anyone with similar grievances should approach them as there would be recourse.

“The smart meter is an electronic meter, and we have a process where when a person says their meter is running fast, they come forward, and we take that meter to a lab…

“If it’s outside the [international] standard, then we credit back the customers,” he said while encouraging residents who believe they have faulty meters to come forward.

Residents accused officials of targeting vulnerable homes, with unemployment and the increased cost of living as their reasons for bemoaning the cutoffs.

They also said they were being made to pay for neighbouring communities with incidences of illegal connections.

City Power said although there was resistance and intimidation, officials would not be deterred.


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