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Wednesday Aug 22, 2018

Joburg adjusts R17m bill to R76 000

The three-year battle of a Joburg resident who received a R17 million water and electricity bill is almost over after the council and City Power agreed to reduce his bill to R76 000.

However, Nico Niemand of Brixton is still appalled and intends to take the matter to court. He claims to have lost about R900 000 in rentals for three years after he had to abandon his property due to his enormous bill for the period October 2017 to May 2018. He had previously rented out the property until 2015, when he stopped because of the constant placing of notices to disconnect his services on his boundary wall.

"Five days ago, I went to their offices in Braamfontein. I was referred to two ladies who work there, and we then sat for more than five hours trying to figure out the matter," said Niemand.

He added that after the meeting his bill was reduced to R76 000, but he was still confused as to how this figure had been reached.

The City of Joburg said the true readings of Niemand's account had been located, resulting in the adjustment of the bill. "The account was billed on estimates, but the city managed to capture actual readings and the account was adjusted accordingly. The city had a meeting with the customer, and the matter was finalised and closed. We are not at liberty to discuss payments made on customers' accounts. You are welcome to contact the customer directly," said City of Joburg spokesperson Selma Lloyd.

The Star recently published Niemand's plight, in which he claimed that people arrived at his door three years ago wearing City Power uniforms, claiming to have been sent to replace his meters with smart ones.

He paid R2 000 for the new meters and later discovered that they had not been connected to the City Power database.

Two City Power employees examined the faulty meters on Monday.

He said this matter had led to other problems. "The house has been standing empty, with no usage of water or electricity, except for one outside security lamp that consumes about R300 a year on electricity,” said Niemand. The deserted property had been broken into four times."

He said he would fight tooth and nail to get the city to fix the problem.

"It is easy for them to say this has been resolved. The main issue is the money I have lost over these three years. I am going to do whatever it takes to resolve this matter. I will not take it lying down."

The Star


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