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Municipality detects billing errors

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Several businesses reported recently that their accounts had shot up, with some stating that their accounts had doubled since June

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WHILE many city businesses reacted with shock at their electricity accounts following the implementation of the tariff increase on July 1, the Sol Plaatje Municipality has admitted that billing errors have been detected on accounts using time of use meters.

Several businesses reported recently that their accounts had shot up, with some stating that their accounts had doubled since June.

At the time, the municipality attributed the increase to the fact that the months June, July and August fell into the “high season”, when electricity tariffs charged are substantially higher.

“Time of use consumers will therefore not only be paying the additional flat rate but also the higher tariff costs for the high season period,” municipal spokesperson, Sello Matsie, said at the time.

Yesterday, however, the municipality confirmed that an error had been detected on some accounts that used time of use meters (usually bulk meters).

“We only realised on Wednesday, when we had a meeting with our consultant, that there were errors on some accounts. As a result we will be going through each account to verify them, one by one.”

According to Matsie, during the verification process, which is still ongoing, errors were not detected on every account.

“While we are still busy verifying all the accounts, and still need to validate them, it appears that the system set up to recognise the tariffs did not take into account all the different scenarios, resulting in errors on some accounts.”

The errors came into effect with the implementation of the increased tariffs on July 1.

Matsie stated that it was hoped that the verification of all the accounts would be completed by early next week.

“The affected accounts will be corrected on next month’s account and account holders will be credited if it is found that they have been overcharged.”

He said all time of use accounts would be checked and verified.

He pointed out that it was still true that many time of use consumers would have higher accounts for June, July and August because of a combination of the flat rate and the high season tariffs.