Following a meeting which was held on Tuesday, 4 November, The executive committee of eThekwini Municipality has reached an agreement to reinstate electricity for customers who are currently in debt.

The municipality said in a statement that the aim is to enhance service delivery and ensure residents have access to basic services such as electricity.

Customers who are in arrears will have access to the reinstatement of electricity services, provided that an Acknowledgement of Debt in favour of the municipality for the total outstanding debt has been signed and that the customer enters into a Credit Authority for the full amount.

The initial report was tabled at the Human Settlements and Infrastructure Committee on 30 November granting authority to, in certain instances, deviate from the current Credit Control Policy 2018/19 and grant a Credit Authority to residential property supply. The report states that the deposit amount and payment terms of the Credit Authority will be calculated with due cognisance of the affordability level of the customer, however the period for the agreement must not exceed 36 months. The customer will continue to have access to electricity service as long as the terms and conditions of Acknowledgment of Debt and Credit Authority are honoured.

The report states that the reinstatement connection costs and any additional amounts raised due to the reinstatement of service, which will only be a prepaid meter, may be fully allocated to the Credit Authority
or appropriately apportioned as opposed to an upfront payment. The proportion to be justified will be based on the level of affordability of the affected customer with the costs to be spread over the duration of 36 months.

It is important to note that the current Credit Control Policy however
still remains enforceable. Chairperson of the Human Settlements and Infrastructure Committee, Councillor Mondli Mthembu said,” A number of eThekwini residents are facing tough economic times. This was therefore a lifeline to customers to enter into an agreement to pay their debt while their electricity supply is reinstated.

“They will not be disconnected after they have filled in an affordability
form and an affordability assessment has been done, provided that they honour their payments. Their meters will be removed and be replaced with prepaid meters to ensure they can monitor their usage.”

Mthembu said it was important for the community to know that they, as the city leadership, have introduced this measure as a progressive government in the city.

Deputy city manager of finance Krish Kumar agreed saying this was a progressive way of managing service delivery. He said it would ensure people have services as long as they keep to the credit arrangements.