Metro to reimburse residents with billing inconsistencies – Centurion Rekord

The metro this week said it will pay back residents who paid for a recent electricity price increase, which it has since reversed.

This reimbursement to residents using prepaid units will kick off in September, according to Tshwane mayor Stevens Mokgalapa.

It will, however, be done in prepaid credits or units and would not be monetary.

“This resolves a long-standing challenge which has affected residents negatively as a result of inconsistencies on their billing,” he said.

This move follows the energy regulator (Nersa) approving a 13,07% tariff hike for the 2019/20 financial year, which was welcomed by AfriForum.

“We are satisfied with the tariff approved by Nersa,” said AfriForum district coordinator for Pretoria Jaco Grobbelaar.

“The increase is much more realistic than the previous proposed increase that was temporarily implemented by the metro.”

“That the correct processes were followed this time before the announcement is also a positive sign.”

“The announcement took place after an intense dispute recently developed regarding the implementation of an increased electricity tariff that wasn’t approved by Nersa.”

Grobbelaar added that AfriForum placed the result on the table from the get-go and that the organisation was glad that the community’s input was taken into account.

“We proposed from the beginning that only a 13,07 percent increase must be implemented on the 2018/2019 tariff, after which a structural change be approved for the 2020/2021 financial year.”

He said AfriForum would also participate in that process “and ensure that the voice of Pretoria residents is heard”.

“Nersa’s decision now means that no basic fee for the current financial year will be placed on electricity consumers.

“Residents that have prepaid metres will be compensated with extra units by the metro for the increased tariff that they had to pay for units up until now.

Moving forward, Mokgalapa said the city would implement the new tariff increases in compliance with the energy regulator’s directives.

The municipality will undertake Nersa’s cost of supply study when restructuring the tariffs in line with the provisions of the electricity pricing policy.

– It will also provide the energy regulator with a so-called “S-M-A-R-T” (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-bound) energy losses reduction plan.

“This will ensure that energy losses are reduced to Nersa benchmarks. An appropriate budget will be allocated and spent in support of this.”

He said the implementation of this plan, together with its budget, would be monitored quarterly and reported to Nersa bi-annually, commencing September 2019.

Furthermore, the City will spend a minimum of six percent of its electricity revenue on repairs and maintenance.

“This expenditure will minimise the impact of energy losses.”

“The city will ensure that it undertakes a thorough public consultation process prior to the submission of the tariff application to Nersa.”

He said this showed a commitment by the City to respond to residents’ service delivery concerns swiftly, putting their interests as a first priority.

To ensure the City doesn’t deviate from the process outlined by Nersa, Mokgalapa said the metro has written them seeking clarity regarding the date of implementation as well as the reimbursement process that should be followed.

“The city takes this opportunity to apologise to residents for the inconvenience and confusion caused in arriving at this juncture.

“This unfortunate event is one that the city regrets immensely and assures residents to not allow for a repeat.”

Residents with prepaid metres that paid the increased tariff can follow a link to declare a dispute with the metro so that they can be compensated for the costs incurred:

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