Rynfield resident billed over R23 000 for water in one month

Murray Vinnicombe, who lives in Sarel Cilliers Street, has represented his water and electricity bills from January 2016 in a table and graph.

The City Times has seen his municipal statements, which list the following water reading fluctuations (amounts are in kilolitres) from January 2017:

• January (279), February (828), March (28), April (42), May (105), June (33), July (57), August (44) September (197) and October (44).

“Do you have any concept of what 828kl is a month?” Vinnicombe said when pointing out the 828kl amount.

This reading equates to a charge of R23 567.98.

To determine the cause for the high readings, the resident hired the services of two leak detectors to find a possible leak on his property.

When they could not find a leak, Vinnicombe had his home’s water piping removed from the walls and had it mounted on the exterior of the house, hoping that if there was a leak, it would be visible. This was done in February.

Despite querying the occurrence with the metro, electricity to his house was cut twice, forcing him to pay outstanding amounts in order to have it reconnected.

Vinnicombe also said his water meter was removed, which raises questions about how his water readings have been taken.

This was done in July.

When the City Times asked the metro about the removal of the meter, spokesperson Themba Gadebe said: “There is no record of a removed water meter. Last maintenance was done in July 2014 when the water meter was leaking. The last photo was taken in February this year confirming that the meter was still on the stand and in good working order. The meter was read until June showing that the meter was in good working order until then. If this meter was removed, it was not removed through the standard processes. The meter will be replaced, however, the previous meter readings will stand.”

Gadebe said people who are concerned about their water meter’s accuracy, may request the metro to inspect it.

“However, should it be discovered that the metered connection is in good working condition, a call-out fee will be charged,” he said.

The metro did not answer specific follow-up questions about Vinnicombe’s queries.

Jacques Meiring, Ward 27 Clr, said there are three or four other similar cases in Benoni that he is aware of.

He said Vinnicombe’s query has been brought to the attention of the relevant department as well as the City Manager’s office.

“It’s a stone wall process,” Meiring said, adding that the metro is adamant the readings are correct.

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