Billing errors rile Njube residents

Ward 12 residents in Njube-Lobengula have protested the high bills they are receiving from the Bulawayo City Council (BCC) and urged the local authority to resume physical meter readings.

This came out during a residents’ meeting organised by the Bulawayo Progressive Residents Association (BPRA) to discuss issues of service delivery in the ward.

Of late, residents have been complaining of high water bills.

Some councillors have also raised the issue in their monthly meetings arguing that the astronomical bills do not correspond with the approved budget.

Speaking during the meeting, one resident said they have been pleading with the local authority to fix its billing system.

“Their meter reading is behind compared to how we are paying, we have been asking the City Council to correct our bills so that it’s systematic with how we are paying,” she said.

The resident also dismissed claims that residents won’t be home when meter readers come for a reading.

“The meter readers have to show evidence that they came and there was no one, the City Council is giving us excuses always, they are totally not reading our metres, we have never seen them,” she said.

Another resident added that they are receiving high bills when they are experiencing water shedding and going for days without receiving water.

“Which water we are paying for when we are not receiving it, our bills keep increasing even if we pay,” she said.

Ward 12 Councillor Lilian Mlilo said residents should ensure that when metre readers come for reading, they open their premises for them.

“We are all affected by the billing system, the first thing is that the Council is complaining that you are closing your gates, some of you have dogs,” she said.

“I personally received a bill of ZWL$70 000, I am also a resident, I had to call them and inquire what is going on, they told me that in their system it was written ‘dog’ don’t think they do not update those details when they are not able to read your metres, they also write even when they find the gates locked.”

She said the meter readers fear entering premises with dogs as some of the metre readers were reportedly bitten by dogs.

“When you have a dog, they do not enter and in my case, they told me that they used the reading from three months back, thus what they use. There is a concern that several metre readers were being bitten by dogs hence the fear, so do assist them when they come for metre readings,” said Cllr Mlilo.

Mlilo said residents who can afford to read their metres should do so and submit the readings to the City Council.

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