Non-paying customers will not get service from City Power, including those with non-vending meters or who have defaulted on their payments. The decision comes as the entity faces pressure on the grid amid load-shedding and low revenue collection targets.
Isaac Mangena, the spokesperson for City Power, explained that the entity had started auditing customers’ meters and assessed their vending history before dispatching a team to attend to calls. During a medium-voltage outage, at least 70% of the customers in that area should be paying customers; if not, technicians will not go ahead with investigation, repairs, or restoring power.
City Power has embarked on a city-wide program to ensure that it gets as many citizens as possible to pay for their electricity services while offering assistance programs for disadvantaged residents. In addition, the Local Government Municipal Systems Management Act 32 of 2000 and the National Credit Act indicate that City Power is within its right to ensure it installs prepaid meters for revenue collection on behalf of the city.
Mangena said, “As City Power, we operate in an environment that often has complex and often expensive priorities and expectations from a variety of stakeholders. We will increase our efforts to collect outstanding debt from customers across the City of Johannesburg.” City Power has embarked on an aggressive revenue collection drive in recent months to collect the money owed by residents, which is approximately R10bn.
City Power has also embarked on a program to audit and normalise meters across the city’s seven regions, which will involve resetting the meters to be TID-compliant before the 2024 November deadline. The program will assist City Power in cleaning up its data and ensuring unmetered customers, especially in non-affluent areas, have smart meters, enabling them to buy electricity and assist City Power in remotely monitoring and controlling the load as they battle load-shedding.
Customers with bridged or bypassed meters and defaulting customers are encouraged to visit their nearest service delivery centre to make payment arrangements available. However, City Power warns that non-paying customers will not get service from them.
“We appeal to residents for cooperation and to allow our officials to gain access to their properties when they come to audit and normalise meters. As these audits will be vital in the preparation for the TID rollover as some of the meters cannot be reprogrammed,” Mangena said.
City Power has already informed residents of Naturena of its decision not to respond to electricity outages in their area until the team is allowed to come and normalise the area to ensure revenue collection is enhanced. In addition, residents have been given until Friday to allow the team to audit meters. If the resistance continues, City Power will no longer respond to power outages in Naturena from May 12.