Danny Jordaan’s electricity account at his Port Elizabeth home has been paid up in full‚ according to Nelson Mandela Bay municipal spokesman Roland Williams.
This comes after the municipality failed to pick up that the electricity meter had burnt out in 2007 – a problem that Jordaan’s wife Roxanne said she had reported several times over the years.
A new meter was finally installed about a month ago.
Roxanne told Weekend Post last week that a standing debit order which included electricity‚ water and other municipal charges had been going off their account every month between 2007 and 2015.
The amount that was outstanding has been settled in full‚ Williams said.
He said the electricity charges were calculated based on a three-month average and the tariff increases over the seven years were also taken into account.
Jordaan’s electricity bill has garnered a lot of attention across the country since it was reported in Weekend Post. Some‚ including the Democratic Alliance’s mayoral candidate‚ Athol Trollip‚ accused Jordaan of simply skipping out on his payments‚ while others believed it was a political ploy to cast doubt on his leadership.
But Williams insisted this week: “The account was paid in full. Normally‚ the customer can work out a payment plan‚ but in this case the customer paid it in full.
“When this kind of thing happens‚ in terms of the policy by-law‚ there’s a calculation that is done premised on a three-month average. It must take into account the various increases over the period.
“The customer can dispute the calculation‚ but in this case the customer has not disputed the calculation.
“It won’t be correct to disclose what the calculation was.”
Jordaan’s faulty electricity meter has highlighted a big problem in the municipality’s electricity department of faulty meters that have gone undetected.
The city loses hundreds of millions of rands every year due to electricity losses.
Williams said the electricity and energy department was investigating why municipal officials did not respond to Roxanne’s complaints over the years.
“The electricity and energy directorate is investigating that internally because as we understand it the problem was reported to us more than once. Why it was not done may be innocent.
“If it was gross negligence‚ it will be dealt with.
“This happens‚ it’s not unusual. There are 330 000 meters so it happens‚ but it must be reduced to become zero percent. We must have a zero tolerance [approach] toward this‚” Williams said.
Executive director of electricity and energy Silby Matthew said there were several challenges with electricity meters across the Bay.
“We are in the process of identifying and replacing meters where we find problems‚” Matthew said.