While City Power has embarked on an intensive drive to collect the outstanding debt to the tune of R4.9 billion, about 107 residential complexes in Midrand have been found to have connected electricity illegally, reports Midrand Reporter.
Spokesperson for City Power Isaac Mangena said that by late February, they had identified a number of 107 residential complexes to have bridged electricity.
“The number could have increased from then,” he said.
Mangena added that over 37,000 accounts were in default with the utility, including 480 large power users such as manufacturing and mines, over 10 400 businesses and 104 government departments comprising schools and hospitals. Furthermore, more than 26,600 residential accounts were outstanding.
“We have since realised that most residential complexes around Midrand have bridged electricity. We have identified those complexes and we will be visiting them soon. We appeal to those that know they have done anything illegal and are not being billed for electricity – to come forward so we could make arrangement and install a meter.”
To recover the lost money, Mangena said they would be visiting owners of the complexes to acknowledge the debt and pay back the money based on estimates for a period of 36 months as stipulated in the by-laws.
“If they don’t agree with that, we will switch off the electricity supply. The owners would be obliged to pay a penalty and a reconnection fee.”
Midrand is not exempt from this. Mangena said the illegal connection of electricity was a problem faced across the City. He added that City Power was engaging with councillors to communicate with their constituencies on the importance of paying their outstanding electricity debt.
He said they were also visiting communities on a bid to encourage residents to pay up.
“The campaign also involves physically going to residences and conducting audits. Where we found meters not working, we replaced them immediately.”
Meanwhile, CEO for City Power Lerato Setshedi said revenue collection impacted heavily on the sustainability of the utility’s business.
“It’s a key focus area – every cent counts! Without this revenue, we cannot invest in the necessary infrastructure to ensure uninterrupted power supply,” said Setshedi.
“Our Revenue Enhancement Plan will actively engage those customers who owe us money and focus on recovering that debt. We will take action to motivate behavioural change, and having done so, we will not then apologise for cutting power supply.”