GEORGE MUNICIPALITY WARNS AGAINST BOGUS METER INSPECTORS AND THE CONSEQUENCES OF METER TAMPERING

GEORGE MUNICIPALITY WARNS AGAINST BOGUS METER INSPECTORS AND THE CONSEQUENCES OF METER TAMPERING

George Municipality uses a registered service provider, Ontec, for meter reading and, as the municipality strives to ensure the safety of all its citizens, Ontec follows a strict protocol for meter inspections.

All pre-payment meters are inspected in George over a 36-month cycle. Lists are produced to indicate the planned inspections for a specific day, week or month and distributed to the sub-contractor. When inspectors visit sites, they introduce themselves and produce an ID card for positive identification. They explain the reason for their visit and ask for permission to conduct an inspection of the meter.

There have been reports of bogus inspectors and consumers are entitled to ask inspectors to produce a valid identity card to prove that they are from Ontec. Inspectors should only be granted access to inspect the meter once their identity has been established.

The inspector uses a Hand-Held Unit (HHU) to determine the GPS co-ordinates of the meter (residence) and an electronic questionnaire is completed by the inspector. The meter is inspected to establish that there is a seal and that the unit is functional as well as for any visible signs of tampering. It may be necessary to switch off the main power at the distribution board to confirm that everything is working efficiently. All information obtained is captured on the HHU.

In the event of the meter being faulty or not sealed, a municipal official will be notified. The inspection is concluded and information is downloaded at the Ontec George office.

Meter tampering is illegal and serious recourse actions are taken against transgressors. Information of what is regarded as a ‘tampered’ meter as well as the position of the George Municipality on electricity theft is available in the Tamper Management Policy and the Electricity Supply By-Laws respectively. 

When it is found that a consumer has tampered with a meter, they will be issued with a ‘tamper fee’ that must be signed and ‘accepted’ by the consumer. The electricity will be switched off until the tamper fee has been paid and proof of payment has been provided to George Municipality Electrotechnical Directorate.

George Municipality will remove the tamper from the electrical meter and seal the meter. However, if the tamper is in the distribution board, the consumer must pay an electrical contractor, who is registered at George Municipality, to remove it. In this case, the consumer has to pay the tamper fee as well as for any damage to the meter and/or connection. In addition, the losses and estimated losses as result of the tamper may be recovered from the consumer.

The consumer will only need to supply a Certificate of Compliance (CoC) if there was a tamper beyond the electrical meter. The electricity supply will be restored as soon as proof of payment (and, if necessary, the CoC) has been submitted to the municipality.

These regulations apply to all premises in George, including the informal settlements.

All illegal connections are removed and tamper fees issued for each illegal connection.

Issued by George Municipality

www.george.org.za

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