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By Faizel Patel

Senior Digital Journalist

WATCH: City Power goes on disconnection spree in Alexandra, cutting several businesses’ power

City Power said customers targeted include petrol stations, government institutions, manufacturing companies and places of worship.

City Power has continued with its aggressive three-day revenue collection operation to recoup millions from defaulting customers.

Thursday was day three of the operation by the power utility in an effort to recover R363 million debt in Alexandra.

City Power said it’s adopting a tough stance on defaulting customers and cutting off the power supply of businesses that refuse to pay for services.

The utility said it also intends removing illegal connections of those who are found to have bypassed meters.

Outstanding payments collected

Spokesperson Isaac Mangena said the targeted businesses were given pre-disconnection notices months ago but failed to make payment arrangements.

He said customers included petrol stations, government institutions, manufacturing companies, government learning institutions and places of worship.

“We haven’t quantified the amount that that we basically managed to recoup because as we go along, customers come to the depot to pay to basically make sure that accounts are in order. Some of them to pay the outstanding balances that they’ve been owing,” said Mangena.

“This is very encouraging. It means when we started on Monday, people actually heeded our call.”

ALSO READ: City Power pleads with communities to protect infrastructure

City Power debt

Mangena said City Power’s overall provision of debt stands at R4 billion across the City of Johannesburg. The Alexandra Service Delivery Centre (SDC) is owed a total of R363 million by households and businesses.

“The objective of this operation further aims to improve the profitability, performance and position of City Power to continue maintaining its infrastructure and to provide essential services to the residents of Johannesburg.”

Illegal connections

According to technicians on the scene during one operation, an Engen service station on 12th Avenue was found to have bridged the metre and was using electricity illegally.

Co-owner of the service station Shaheed Patel said they inherited an outstanding electricity bill of R500 000 when they bought the business, but this has since been settled.

“They (City Power) are saying that they can’t find the meter. The garage was looted last year and all the electricity cables were taken out. We are going now to City Power to show them our bills and show them the payments that we’ve been making,” said Patel.

Other targets

Mangena added that other businesses, such as the educational institution, heard about the operation and rushed to settle their R900 000 bill.

“However, upon arrival technicians found that their mini substation was vandalised a few days ago and cables were stolen from the mini sub-station,” he said.

Mangena said there will be numerous outreach programmes within communities to assist with queries and persuade defaulting customers to make payment arrangements in order to be spared from power supply restrictions.

“These operations will continue to run throughout the year in all seven regions of the city,” Mangena said.

ALSO READ: Six arrested for cable theft in Joburg

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