Fauna Park resident falls victim to smart water meter scam

Residents must be wary of fraudsters operating in the city claiming to sell new electricity and water smart meters. The new smart meters are provided free of charge by the municipality.

POLOKWANE – A Fauna Park resident recently fell victim to a scam relating to the new smart electricity and water meters being rolled out by the municipality.

The resident was requested to pay R6 000 cash to a man claiming to install these new meters for the municipality.

Read more: [TAKE NOTE] Muni warns residents of fake municipal officials in Flora and Fauna Park

In actual fact, these new meters are being installed by the municipality for free throughout the city within a scheduled period of three years as was explained in articles earlier this year in BONUS and its sister paper, Review.

The man claimed to be from an electrical company subcontracted by the municipality and told the family around mid-August he was to install the new prepaid meters.

After the installation of the new meter the family paid the last two months’ electricity as owed to the municipality, as the municipal accounts are billed post-dated by two months, but when they recently received another municipal account they contacted the municipality to query the bill. Per their understanding they shouldn’t have been billed by the municipality as they already had the new prepaid meter installed. Upon their query to the municipality they were informed their meter was not registered and they had to pay their account as usual.

The family did not ask the man who installed the meter for identification and have not yet opened a case with police.

Polokwane Municipal Spokesperson, Matshidiso Mothapo, confirmed the municipality doesn’t charge residents for the installation of the new smart meters and urged residents to be wary of criminal elements posing as municipal officials and contractors.

He added it recently came to the attention of the municipality there were criminal elements moving around ward 20, Fauna and Flora Park in particular, posing as municipal officials or contractors tasked with installing electricity meters.

Mothapo said prior to the municipality and its contractors entering a particular neighbourhood to install electricity and water meters, notice will be given to the residents of that area via public platforms as well as information packs which are dropped off at each household. “The municipality also conducts community meetings where the community is engaged on the installation,” he said.

He said these information packs contain information about the smart meters, frequently asked questions and answers, names and images of the installers as well as contact details where the authenticity of the contractors can be verified. The municipality has also set up a Smart Metering Support Centre which can be contacted at 087 350 2770 or SMS 32915 for any queries relating to the new smart meters.

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Nelie Erasmus

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