KOUGA – Kouga Municipality acknowledges the occurrence of errors in the recent water and electricity accounts of residents and is actively working on rectifying these mistakes.

Background

The consumption of both water and electricity is being billed 60 days in arrears, e.g. a resident’s consumption for October would only reflect on their December invoice which caused many problems.

This include:

When customers compare their readings to their invoice, it does not agree due to the timing difference.

If a customer has a water leak, it can only be identified and fixed two months or more later due to the timing of the billing.

The identification of the water leaks has resulted in extremely high amounts being billed on customer accounts of which the customer remained liable for a portion of this bill.

Rectifying the problem

To address the above issue, it was resolved that the billing period be reduced from two months in arrears to one month in arrears. This will be achieved by adding an additional 10 days of consumption to three billing months’ billing.

In light of the financial burden experienced by residents, Kouga Executive Mayor, Hattingh Bornman, in conjunction with his delegated authority, has approved that the billing for the outstanding 20 days of consumption be billed over the next five months. This as opposed to the originally planned two months. This will mean that four days of consumption will be added to water and electricity accounts, reflecting as “Arrears billing”. No interest will be charged on these arrears.

Furthermore, additional basic charges for water and electricity were incorrectly included in the accounts that were issued at the end of December. This error has been addressed internally, and future billing statements will accurately reflect the corrected charges.

It has also been decided that no extra charges in the form of interest will be applied to arrears caused by the 30 day delay, aiming to further reduce the financial impact on residents.

User-friendly and comprehensible

Another new introduction is that residents can expect the latest water and electricity account layout to be more user-friendly and easily comprehensible. This will be distributed in January to accurately reflect the readings for December. Thus 30 days in arrears plus the additional four days, spread over five months.

Lastly, the municipality is also aware of the telephone issues that the accounts department has had in recent months. We hope to have the system sorted by the end of January. We ask residents to forward any issues via email to enquiries@kouga.gov.za.

Kouga Municipal Manager, Charl du Plessis, said, “Kouga Municipality extends a sincere apology for the inaccuracies in the accounts and the inconvenience they have caused. We are dedicated to correcting these errors and appreciate residents’ patience in this matter.”

We want to encourage residents to pay their accounts as it is critical to the delivery of basic services.

“The municipality remains committed to transparent and resident-centric practice. We are striving to ensure that billing processes are fair and considerate of community’s needs and spent on the delivery of quality services.”

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