Capetonians can give themselves a decent pat on the back with regards their water usage, because Day Zero has once again been pushed back.
No, Angus Buchan, you had nothing to do with it.
You might have pulled your socks up with regards reducing your home’s water usage, getting in line with that 50 litres per day limit, but there’s a still a chance you’re going to get stung with your next water bill.
According to News24, the City has warned residents they might receive hefty water bills following “technical challenges” with a new metering system.
Switching from a third party electronic platform to an in-house electronic interface system hasn’t gone as smoothly as planned, leaving Xanthea Limberg, mayoral committee member for water, to explain:
“…some customers will receive estimated bills although their meter was read,” Limberg said.
She warned that customers across the City would be affected by the technical issues.
“Where residents receive estimated bills, the City recommends that they settle the account as they would normally. If the estimate is higher than the actual usage then their account will be adjusted appropriately the next time the actual meter reading is captured,” she said.
“In cases where estimated consumption far exceeds actual consumption, and residents are unable to afford the bill, they can approach the City’s call centre or their closest walk-in centre to request an investigation. Debt management will be suspended until the investigation is resolved.”
Limberg said the estimated bills were currently based on consumption for the same period in the previous year.
That last bit is very important, because I’d bet a year ago you were using far more water than you are now. Given the increased tariff on water usage implemented since the turn of the year, your bill could end up being significantly higher because of that estimate.
I dunno if the ‘just pay your bill and we will fix it later’ approach is going to sit well with residents, hey?
Another body blow – if your neighbours have been making use of the City Water Map tool, they might just think that you’ve dropped the ball:
Limberg said residents of the City of Cape Town should also note the estimated readings could affect their green dot status on the City’s water map.
“Residents who have had their consumption estimated will rather be given a grey dot reflecting that no data exists for consumption on the property. While this will cause some disappointment, it is important that we all continue to do our best to save water,” she said.
Expect disparaging glances from neighbours who have seen your green dot status disappear.
Oh, the shame.
So what can you do to try and ensure you’re not hit with a stinging bill, after clawing your way back from Janu-worry’s money problems? Be proactive, Limberg says:
“The City encourages as many residents as possible to register for e-services and do their own meter readings. Performing regular meter readings at your property is essential for effectively managing water consumption, and can act as an early warning for leaks on the property.”
You can find info on how to register for the City’s e-services here.
High fives to those who have helped keep Day Zero at bay, and here’s hoping you’re not hit with a hefty bill for your troubles.
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