COMMON CAUSE OF INCORRECT BILLING – 3. WATER METERS ON THE INVOICE NOT INSTALLED AT THE SCHOOL

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The article published by Suntricity on the 25th August 2018 titled COJ Incorrect Billing, highlighted 5 Categories of Common Causes for Billing Errors of the COJ Invoice for Schools, where a further and deeper understanding of each Category is felt necessary.

This article therefore focuses on an unlikely but common cause of COJ Billing Irregularities: WATER METERS APPEARING ON THE MUNICIPAL INVOICE NOT INSTALLED AT THE SCHOOL

Municipal Water Accounts detail Water Meters (see Page 2 of your Johannesburg Water Accounts) not installed at schools was found at 2 of the 30 schools studied, with the obvious consequence of prolonged unjustified over-billing on a massive scale. 

On hindsight, it’s always easy to question how this can happen in the first place:

1.     MUNICIPALITY: The responsibility of ensuring invoice details are correct is that of the Municipality. After all, a Municipal Invoice is a bono fide legal declaration of correctness...knowingly issuing an incorrect invoice, is after all fraud.

2.     SCHOOL: Schools accountants do not generally relate a Water Meter Number on the Municipal Invoice, to that of a Water Meter Number of the water meter installed at the school. 

Problem is, in the cases detected, the water meters invoiced (and not at the school) continued for years, where apparently no one related the billing problem to the simplicity of the water meter being invoiced is not installed at the school.

From the example detailed, it is blatantly obvious a problem existed...Water Consumption for 60 days at a Primary School of 6,298 KL and R325,870.91 is of course cause for concern, especially as the account was invoiced in excess of R3,2million for the previous 24-months.