Joburg to convert to pre-paid meters

All residents in Johannesburg may be forced to install pre-paid water meters in their homes because the city’s new billing system is in such a state of chaos. Johannesburg property owners may be forced to install pre-paid water meters because of the city’s chaotic new billing system.

The suggestion came from Joburg Water in response to a question from DA councillor Marian Kemp. City Power said it was also planning to install pre-paid electricity meters throughout the city.

City Power has fitted almost 17 000 pre-paid electricity meters to homes in Roodepoort, Tshepisong and Matholeville.

Revenue collection in Johannesburg has been a source of continued frustration for homeowners despite the fact that the city spent R580-million on Project Phakama, an information technology system that was supposed to create a one-stop invoicing centre where all accounts would be centralised in a single database.

Council spokesman, Nthatisi Modingoane claimed that pre-paid meters was one of several solutions being considered by the council to resolve the constant problems that it has experienced with the billing system.

He says that pre-paid meters would help individual households to manage their usage, control their expenditure and improve the city’s revenue collection. However, he stressed that City Power and Joburg Water had not yet made a final decision on pre-paid metering.

Modingoane says that the council’s future budget priorities will influence the decision on pre-paid meters and the likely roll-out of these systems to individual homes.