Municipal Billing Issues – How To Resolve Them

COMMON MUNICIPAL BILLING ISSUES
and how to deal with them……
This document provides information into the following types of Municipal Account problems and the process to follow to fix these problems:
1. Over estimation resulting in an excessive amount payable.
2. Customer readings submitted but not utilized to invoice account
3. Retrospective corrections resulting in an excessive municipal account
4. Water leak on a municipal water meter affecting a municipal account
1. OVER ESTIMATION RESULTING IN AN EXCESSIVE AMOUNT PAYABLE:
Why does this happen:
Tshwane read water and electricity meters and include them in the billing process as part of the billing calendar. Due to the vast number of accounts being issued provision is made for the estimation of accounts as it is not feasible or practical to read every single meter on a month-to-month basis through our meter readers. This might well change in the future as new technology gets introduced but currently the Water and Electricity by-laws makes provision for meter readings to be estimated.
Unfortunately, these estimations are mostly inflated resulting in excessive municipal accounts. We are working on a proactive plan to resolve this but often residents are affected in this way. It is however easy to do a correction and to have a new statement issued to a resident.
How to fix this:
1. Submit a photo of the water as well as the electricity meter and email this with a copy of the latest municipal account to customercare@tshwane.gov.za
2. Request the following in the body of the email as part of point 1:
a. That a correction be made on the account as per the attached photos and a new
statement be issued.
b. That a hold be placed on the account until the correction has been made.
c. That a reference number for the matter be issued and returned by email.
3. It is also suggested that the customer registers on e-Tshwane. This will allow the customer to submit customer readings in future and to manage other aspects of the account online. Average turnaround time for these corrections are: 7 days (escalate to your councillor after the 7 days.)
2. CUSTOMER SUBMITTED OWN READINGS BUT WAS NOT UTILISED TO INVOICE THE ACCOUNT:
Why does this happen:
Tshwane allows for a system which place control in the hands of the customer and allow them to submit own readings for water and electricity, this ensures the readings are correct but in the last few months due to technical issues it was ascertained that in instances the readings submitted by customers was not used to invoice the account resulting in the municipal account being estimated.
Problems were experienced with the meterrecords@tshwane.gov.za email address and also functional problems at the call centre meant that the readings could not be called in and where it was emailed the email was not recognized due to a system error. Investigations are underway to exploring new technology which will allow for a much more secure system when it comes to submitting customer meter readings.
Another contributor is that customers often don’t submit readings according to the billing
calendar for specific portions. Any readings received out of the perimeters of the billing calendar results in the submission not being utilized. The billing calendar is available on the City’s website www.tshwane.gov.za and works in line with the portion number on the top right hand of your account.
How to fix this:
1. Make sure you have an updated billing schedule and know exactly on which day to take and submit your readings.
2. Register on e-Tshwane. This will allow you to submit your readings online. You can also
manage other aspects of your account online.
3. In the case where the readings were ignored for the latest month, do the following to correct the account:
4. Obtain a photo of the water as well as the electricity meter and email this with a copy of the latest municipal account to meterrecords@tshwane.gov.za
5. Request the following in the body of the email as part of point 4:
a. That a correction be made on the account as per the attached photos and a new
statement be issued.
b. That a hold be placed on the account until the correction has been made.
c. That a reference number for the matter be issued and returned by email.
Average turnaround time for this correction is 7 days. (Escalate to your councillor after the 7 days). It is advised that an average amount of the account is paid whilst the matter is receiving attention.
3. RETROSPECTIVE CORRECTIONS RESULTNG IN AN EXCESIVE MUNICIPAL ACCOUNT:
Why does this happen:
As a result of the delay in replacing defective meters, consumer’s accounts are levied on a
minimum or zero consumption for a period. Once the meter is replaced, an average
consumption is determined, and a retrospective is applied for the period that the meter was defective.
How do deal with it:
1. First confirm that the actual readings used is correct.
2. If the account is adjusted and cannot be paid immediately, arrangements can be concluded at a Customer Care Centre for the amount to be paid over a period.
Turnaround time for payment arrangements are immediate when visiting the customer care center.
4. WATER LEAK ON A MUNICIPAL WATER METER AFFECTING A MUNICIPAL ACCOUNT:
Why this happen:
A water meter is designed to only record readings when water flow through the meter. Only water leaks on the property (after the meter) will register against the meter and the consumer is held liable for the water waste. The account will be levied for the water that has leaked as consumers are responsible for any water used on the property. It is the consumer’s responsibility to ensure that there are no water leaks on the property.
How to deal with this:
1. If the leak is on the property, the consumer must have the leak repaired. The cost of the repair Is for the consumers account.
2. If the leak is on or before the meter, the matter must be reported to
customerecare@tshwane.gov.za in order to limit wastage and for the City to attend to the issue.
COMPILED BY TSHWANE CITY COUNCIL CHAIRPERSON, FINANCE OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE: COUNCILLOR PETER SUTTON

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