City Power cracks down on non-vending smart prepaid meters

​City Power is taking decisive action against customers with non-vending smart prepaid meters by converting them to postpaid meters across all its areas of supply in Johannesburg. The decision follows a routine inspection by City Power, which revealed an alarming number of meters that had not been vending for three months or more.

“We have decided to convert all these non-purchasing customers’ meters following a routine inspection that exposed prepaid meters that have not been vending. The number of such meters is alarming, with over 10,000 in affluent areas, and others, worryingly, belonging to businesses,” says Isaac Mangena, City Power spokesperson.

Millions of rands have been invested in City Power’s smart meters project, but some customers are exploiting the system by stealing electricity through meter bypassing.

“City Power has spent millions of rands installing smart meters across Johannesburg and deplores this behaviour from customers who are sitting with non-vending meters only to enjoy free electricity,” argues Mangena.

“These customers not only tamper with the electricity equipment, potentially causing network overloads and prolonged outages, but they also hinder our ability to provide a reliable power supply and collect much-needed revenue,” he adds.

Mangena says City Power is currently facing around R10 billion in debt from non-paying customers.The municipal entity strongly discourages residents from tampering with the electricity infrastructure by bypassing their meters. This is not only a criminal offence but can also lead to circuit malfunctions, power surges, and equipment shocks in homes, which may cause fires, serious injuries, or even fatalities.

“Customers who have not been vending for more than three months and are found to have bypassed their meters will be automatically converted to postpaid meters. Once affected customers have been converted, the revenue recovery process will be initiated from the date the meters stopped vending to recoup unpaid electricity consumption,” he explains.

For instance, if a customer is found to have bypassed their prepaid meter and has not been vending for 12 months, the entity will seek to recover that revenue.

“Thereafter, the newly installed meters will ensure accurate billing and assist us in maintaining reliable electricity in all areas of supply, as well as monitoring and controlling the load during the implementation of higher stages of load-shedding,” Mangena adds.

City Power continues to advocate for smart prepaid meters, but some delinquent customers are abusing the system by stealing electricity through meter bypassing. Through meter audits, resetting, and the installation of smart prepaid meters across the City, which began in preparation for the TID rollover, City Power is actively addressing the ongoing energy crisis while collecting revenue and discouraging the culture of non-payment.

The single-visit task to residents’ premises requires City Power authorised technicians to access customers’ properties to replace the meters. City Power appeals to customers to allow its authorised meter technicians access to their properties to undertake this important task.If residents are not available, the technicians will leave a “No Access” letter at the customer’s premises with the company name and contact details. The area Service Delivery Centre’s name and team leader’s contact details will be provided. Customers are urged to immediately make arrangements for the conversion.

However, customers who refuse City Power authorised technicians’ entry to their premises will be handed over to the disconnection team to disconnect the supply, as these customers are not buying electricity and are not connected directly to the grid.

City Power understands there may be safety concerns, as some individuals might try to impersonate its personnel during this meter conversion period. We strongly urge customers to be vigilant and only allow entry to contractors presenting a valid ID card with the contractor’s company name and valid expiry date. No contractor should use another person’s ID card.

For specific inquiries, customers are encouraged to log a call on citypower.mobi or contact the entity on 011 490 7484. Customers can also reach us on our toll-free line on 0800 020 2925.

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