Billing glitches no crisis, says mayor

2011-01-26 12:21

Johannesburg - Johannesburg's billing problems, which have resulted in residents receiving inflated bills and others having services cut off, are not a sign of a crisis, mayor Amos Masondo said on Wednesday.

He attributed the problems to the implementation of a new IT project, Phakama, designed to improve the city's billing system.

"We empathise with residents currently experiencing difficulty and will ensure that the numbers affected are as minimal as possible," he told reporters in Braamfontein.

Masondo said the number of people owed refunds was no longer a "big issue" as it had been reduced.

The city's head of finance Parks Tau said implementation of the IT project had been completed, and that problems with it were "interface-related".

Asked about the inflated bills, Tau explained the billing process in detail. He added that the incorrect bills should not have been issued, and that investigations were under way to hold those responsible accountable.

Tau said the city was owed about R10bn and credit control processes were under way to collect the money.

  • Hendrik - 2011-01-26 13:44

    They might THINK they are owed R10bn but how will they or any one else ever know? That department is absolutely clueless. Exhorbitant not possible bills for customers where they think they have a chance of 'going after them" to collect. On the other side of the coin, illegal connections = free of charge electricity. So how do be "balance" this situation, load the bills of peolple we can get hold of safely. Jo'burh council departments "suck".

  • Mmakadikwe1 - 2011-01-26 13:45

    Mr Amos Masondo must be smoking his socks to think that those of us who had to call their so called customer service line are satisfied with what they are doing to the tax payers in their airconditioned offices.You call the help line or the so called customer service and the person does not even know who is responsible for the mess.Now how do you deploy a call centre personnel who does not have a slightest clue of what customer relation is to try and help angry customers who have been screwed by the incompetent city council's staff.For you Mr Masondo,let me remind you that time is very important to some of us if you think by being put on hold for more than 40 minutes waiting for a consultant who is also clueless is a crisis sir,get your act together and start delivering on services you have been promising for more than a decade.If you are so convinced that your billing system is not in crisis why are we even talking about it right now? You are just being a politician and a bad one let me tell you.

  • A Client - 2011-01-26 14:48

    Dear Mr Masondo In December 2009, the electricity portion disappeared mysteriously from my account. Now, I prefer to pay my bills, so I called your offices to enquire. However, I only managed to get through to a real human being by mid-2010. She instructed me to visit the City Power offices, but to keep paying what I thought I owe in the meantime. Now, as I am fortunate enough to have full-time employment, I only managed to go to the City Power office by the end of November 2010. My visit only made matters worse, as I have not received any account from the city at all since then. I also stopped paying, as the last (inaccurate) account I received in October 2010, showed a R7000 credit (which is all the estimated electricity costs which were not deducted). I will not be calling your offices again, as I refuse to bear the cost (in time, money and frustration) of holding hour after hour. I will also not pay until you can accurately tell me what I owe. In the meantime, I am saving the money I would have paid in a separate account and receiving some interest from the bank. After all, this will probably be the only interest that I will receive in this matter, as the City of Johannesburg does not seem interested at all. Your Sincerely A Client (although not by choice)

  • Other Justin - 2011-01-26 16:05

    Ya sure, this is just a normal ANC-PF problem, they are NEVER to blame, it is either a new system, the boogie man or famously apartheid!

  • mpjames0255 - 2011-01-27 09:43

    When Masondo says that there is no crisis he means that if he is OK then everything below is OK. Elections are coming up buster so wake up as your councillors are directly accountable to the electorate.

  • Lee-Anne - 2011-01-28 09:37

    This kinda service is totally just wrong! Suddenly in November I got a pumped up account for R20,000 in arrears and they want payment now! Our bill has never been over R800 in the winter for electricity. What on Earth is going on. Then you phone and wait for 2 hours to be told they do not handle accounts thy will put you through and anothr 2 hours later still no reply. "We are experiencing high call volumes" your call will be answered by an operator as soon as possible!!

  • Arlene - 2011-02-17 10:01

    If the department is owed R10bn its due to their incorrect billing service. So they expect the public to pay for the deficit and inefficiency - you have to be joking? They must get their act together and employ people that are knowledgable and can sort out their mess.

  • Arlene - 2011-02-17 10:06

    Could someone advise me how one gets a Clearance Certificate if they sell their house when the Council have this so called "glitch" in the system? Must one pay their incorrect account? Must one sue the Council? I would love an answer.

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