Ricochet News

George Municipality warns against 'false' meter inspectors and meter tampering

JULY 11, 2017
George Municipality warns against 'false' meter inspectors and meter tampering

George makes use of a registered service provider Ontec, who performs the function of meter reading.

"George Municipality strives to ensure the safety of all its citizens and as such Ontec follows a strict protocol for meter inspections.

"All pre-payment meters are inspected in George within 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. Inspectors visit these sites, firstly introduce themselves and produce an ID Card for positive identification," described Debra Sauer, Communications Officer at George Municipality. .

"They explain the reason for their visit and ask for permission to do the inspection of the meter.

"A Hand-Held Unit (HHU) is used to determine the GPS co-ordinates of the meter (residence) and an electronic questionnaire is completed by the inspector. The meter is inspected for a seal, units and visible possible tampering.  It may be necessary to switch off the main power on the distribution board to confirm everything is working efficiently. All information obtained is captured on the HHU."

Sauer said that in the event of the meter being faulty or not sealed, a municipality 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. The detail of what is regarded as a 'tampered' meter as well as the position of the George Municipality for electricity theft is available in the Tamper Management Policy and the Electricity Supply By-Laws respectively," she added. 

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

Sauer said that the George Municipality will remove the tamper from the electrical meter and seal the meter. 

"But if the tamper is in the Distribution board, the consumer must get an electrical contractor which is registered at George Municipality to do it. In this case, the consumer must pay the tamper fee as well as potential damage to the meter and or connection.  In addition, the losses and estimate losses as result of the tamper may be recovered from the consumer," she added.

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

"All regulations apply to all premises in George, including Informal Settlements. All illegal connections are removed and tamper fees are issued for each illegal connection."