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Wednesday Sep 23, 2009

Jo'burgers prefer prepaid meters

Prepaid water and electricity metering is the preferred system across Johannesburg, the City has revealed.

Officials say there is no direct drive to force communities to install prepaid meters but that most have welcomed it.

Areas where such actions have been taken are those with high levels of illegal connections, low payment rates and vandalism to infrastructure.

City Power, the City of Johannesburg's electricity supplier, says there is no need to force residents to convert to prepaid meters as most are willing and do so voluntarily.

The utility's managing director, Silas Zimo, says there are more than 80000 prepaid users in the Johannesburg metro.

"As we move forward we will see if there will be a need to force people, mostly those in townhouses", Zimo said .

City Power says there is a once-off cost to install a prepaid meter but it will only be installed if all accounts are up- to-date.

The amount paid per unit of electricity is higher than the ordinary billing system, but according to City Power it is more efficient and easier for homeowners or tenants to personally monitor their electricity consumption.

Meanwhile, Johannesburg Water spokesperson Baldwin Matsimela said "98807 prepaid water meters have been installed in Soweto with a further 170000 households still to be fitted".

"This is to address problems related to unaccounted for water and to upgrade infrastructure.

"In a nutshell, it is our aim to ensure that every household, not just Soweto, is metered and billed correctly", Matsimela said.

Meanwhile, there is real threat of the main water supplier to Gauteng, Vaal River, running out of enough water to supply the entire province by 2013.

This has prompted the department of local government and housing to hold a workshop at Gallagher Estate, Midrand, on water conservation and demand management today.



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