To recover a staggering R1.2 billion owed to the Reuven Service Delivery Centre, City Power, collaborating with Joburg Water and various city departments has initiated disconnections targeting non-paying customers in south Johannesburg, where outstanding debts have reached R5 million.
The Naturena community finds itself burdened with an outstanding debt exceeding R309 million owed to the City of Joburg, necessitating decisive action by municipal authorities.
City Power spokesperson Isaac Mangena revealed that over the past three years, the utility has incurred losses of approximately R90 million due to customers resorting to meter bypasses in Naturena.
Mangena stated, “In this area, we have around 3,000 prepaid customers, with only half of them consistently paying for their electricity. The remaining customers have resorted to illegal bypasses to avoid paying for their consumption.”
During the disconnection operation in collaboration with the South African Police Service (SAPS) and the Johannesburg Metropolitan Police Department, authorities removed specific electricity infrastructure to deter future illegal connections.
Malta Street witnessed a complete power cutoff due to historically low vending levels, and property owners in the area, one of whom owes City Power a substantial R267,000, resisted the technicians’ entry during the operation. Mangena noted that such actions might impact some paying customers in the vicinity.
City Power has repeatedly engaged with the Naturena community over the past decade, including a meeting in April where residents voiced concerns about the quality of services in exchange for their willingness to normalise the electricity network and allow prepaid meters installation once cable theft issues were addressed.
In response, City Power invested over R9 million to combat cable theft and commenced the network normalisation, including meter installations. However, the recent operation marked the initiation of a series of disconnections aimed at enforcing service payment.
City Power has urged those disconnected to visit City of Joburg offices to rectify their accounts and commence payment to avoid further disruptions. The utility expressed appreciation for the customers who consistently meet their obligations, emphasising that non-payment by a segment of the community jeopardises the security of the electricity supply and hinders the utility’s ability to address outage reports from the area.
Picture: X / tndaba
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