City Power cuts off two Joburg south residential complexes with R13 million bill

City Powers officials from the Reuven Service Delivery Centre (SDC) leads a revenue collection drive in Johannesburg South aimed at disconnecting non-paying customers. Picture: Supplied

City Powers officials from the Reuven Service Delivery Centre (SDC) leads a revenue collection drive in Johannesburg South aimed at disconnecting non-paying customers. Picture: Supplied

Published Jun 7, 2024


By Simon Majadibodu

Two Johannesburg South residential complexes will be in the dark, while three businesses will cease operations after City Power’s disconnection due to their combined massive debt exceeding R1.9 billion.

This comes after the power utility conducted its revenue collection campaign dubbed ‘City Power Iya Khata’. It is aimed at addressing “problematic customers” who have continuously failed to meet payment arrangements and deadlines.

The operation was conducted by power utility’s officials from the Reuven Service Delivery Centre (SDC), and was escorted by the Johannesburg Metro Police Department (JMPD)officers.

City Power spokesperson, Issac Mangena said the residential complex in Meredale owes the power utility R7,167,760, and the second residential complex in Kenilworth which connected illegally owes R6,168,720.

City Power spokesperson, Isaac Mangena. Picture: Screengrab

“A panel beater business, owes City Power R908,342, while a furniture manufacturer that had illegally connected to our grid defaulted by R5,750,477 a hotel, is in R754,874 debt,” he said.

Mangena stressed that this continuous initiative not only aims to tackle the escalating debt, which has reached unsustainable levels, but also seeks to address excessive electricity consumption, especially during this period of continued pressure on the system.

“Part of this operation involves tracking and auditing customers whose supply remain on but are no longer vending, either due to bypassed metres or illegal connections.”

“From our observations, those who are illegally connected or tampered with meters, are amongst the highest consumers of electricity, because they do not experience the financial consequences of keeping high and irresponsible usage.”

He explained that not only does this impose immense strain on the already overloaded network, but also poses a risk of damaging electricity infrastructure like transformers.

“During the winter period, City Power encounters a high number of cases of explosion of mini-substations and transformers, due to overloading that comes as a direct result of illegal connections.”

Mangena noted that this frequently results in extended outages and additional financial losses, as the entity has to purchase equipment to replace those damaged by non-paying customers.

He explained that the power utility is still sitting with around R10 billion customer debt.

City Power official disconnects electrical cables from a mini-substation connected to a panel beater, in the Johannesburg South, that owes the power utility R908 342,30. Picture: Supplied

“From our previous experiences with defaulting customers, the lack of funds does not appear to be among reasons why they consistently fail to pay for their bills, as most of them often make instant payments on the day of the cut-off.”

With the arrival of the winter season, Mangena expressed hope that the heightened operations during this period will effectively tackle the non-payment culture and alleviate pressure on the grid.

He said additional measures have been implemented to reduce strain on the grid including the installation of ripple relays.

“A ripple receiver is part of a load management system used to control the electricity supply to the geyser during peak hours. Geysers are among the biggest electricity guzzlers, accounting for up to 50% of monthly household energy costs.”

He said the ripple relays will enable customers to save on electricity expenses, reducing the burden of servicing their bills and alleviating pressure on the network.

“The process of auditing and installing ripple receivers is still ongoing, and urge everyone to be at home or have someone who will provide our agents with access, on the selected dates. This is essential work in ensuring that the consumption load is well managed, eliminating the need to implement stringent measures to curtail supply,” said Mangena.