Pretermination Notices Charges by the Municipality
- By: Ken Nunes
When Municipal consumers do not pay electricity or water bill, they run the risk of being disconnected.
A PRETERMINATION NOTICE charge is applied to their invoice (under SUNDRY items), which basically covers the administration cost of the Municipality. Suntricity, studying the hundreds of Municipal invoices each month are noticing an increasing trend for the Municipality to apply these charges to schools, even though their accounts are fully paid.Schools are an easy target of course. The amount is small enough to go unnoticed (approximately R250.00) and like most consumers, schools' administrators do not look at the "detail" of Page 2 of their Municipal Invoices to note these extra costs, generally focusing on the total amount charged.
And because it is such a time consuming process calling the Municipality to report the overcharge, (from personal experience, one can often waste hours trying to connect to the Municipality's Call Centre), we often feel it is not worth the effort.
The Municipality have long acknowledged their billing system is flawed. And whilst some effort is being made to address the situation (the Municipality of Johannesburg recent Call for Proposal A730 is an example), in the mean time, incorrect billing and over billing continues to be a problem for schools.
Suggestion: Schools should look to report these occurrences of overcharging to their respective IDSO's (Institutional Development and Support Official), who will be able to report to their superiors all ongoing cases of over billing by the Municipality, who will then be able to report these issues to the Municipality.
Collective action should certainly have greater effect than individual frustrations.