Bulawayo councillors have urged residents to submit their own meter readings to the city council to avoid being overcharged.
Some residents have been receiving shocking water bills of up to ZWL$100 000 with the local authority forced to use estimates due to a shortage of water meter readers.
According to the latest council report, the councillors pointed out that due to the Covid-19 induced lockdown, there was a huge gap in collecting meter readings by the council staff leading to the usage of estimated figures.
“The Deputy Mayor Cllr Mlandu Ncube said that the issue of the high estimated bills would be looked into. Council had agreed to have the bills adjusted accordingly. Residents should continue to pay for their bills. Council had issued a list of properties and how they paid their monthly bills,” read the minutes.
Ward 17 Cllr Sikhululekile Moyo highlighted that some residents who were willing to pay their dues to the local authority were demotivated because the estimated bills had brought very high amounts.
“Ward 4 Cllr Silas Chigora encouraged residents to pay their bills. The meter readings were correct after an actual reading. Council had taken too long to estimate readings because of Covid-19 national lockdown,” the minutes read.
“Residents should read their water meters more constantly to avoid such abnormal consumptions. With regards to the high bills after actual meter readings Council had resolved to adjust all the bills for the national lockdown. Residents with queries could visit Council offices to have their issues resolved.”
Ward 23 Cllr Rodney Jele acknowledged that residents were owing council a lot of money hence it was prudent for Council to maximise revenue collection and encourage residents to pay their outstanding amounts.
Cllr Mzama Dube also explained that council had not read meters over a long period resulting in the high charges.
“When the meters were read the consumptions were very high. Efforts were being made for the bills to be adjusted. He encouraged residents to get their actual readers and pay their bills,” the minutes read.