Smart water meter installations to commence soon

Mafebe Maponya, from Baatshuma, explaining how the installation of the new smart meters works.

POLOKWNAE – A presentation was given on the smart water meter roll-out by Mafebe Maponya of Baatshuma who are responsible for the roll-out. Maponya said installation will commence when contractors and around 60 labourers from within the ward have been appointed.

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People residing in the ward who are interested in jobs as labourers can contact Peter Boshomane at the municipality at [email protected]. They will receive R170 per day. Ten of the 60 labourers needed must be skilled labour.

The attendees had many questions as well as complaints, as some residents were annoyed because contractors had already started work at their houses, without them having been informed beforehand. Some complaints regarding paving that was not replaced properly and yards left in a mess as well as batteries of the meters that gave problems and left residents without water until it was replaced, were noted.

People were informed that they would be given a “happy letter” to complete when their meters have been installed to state that they are satisfied with the job done. If not, complaints regarding the installation of smart water meters can be reported to the support centre at 087 350 2770 or with an SMS at 32195.

People asked how the meters worked and if it is pre-paid only, when are the meters to be installed, who pays for the water losses during installation of the pipes, what the advantages of the meters were and why residents were not consulted before deciding to install these meters. Residents were told that meters need not be pre-paid for now, although some opted for pre-paid, but in the end all meters will be pre-paid.

The meters will be installed within the next 10 weeks in the ward, depending on when the labourers have been appointed, The municipality pays for the water losses, but it does not take long to install the meters. The replacement will do away with dirty dials or water meters inside a yard without a way to enter the yard, necessitating estimates of water usage by residents.

The conventional brass meters are being stolen while these new smart meters will not be stolen. The brass meters were galvanised, leading to rust and deterioration of the metal and also to leakage. The new water meters will pick up leakage.

The tariffs of water remain the same. Batteries of the meters are supposed to have a seven-year lifespan, but a faulty batch has been identified and batteries are replaced on that batch.

The meters are the property of the municipality and if a meter has been wilfully or negligently damaged or bumped with a car, or tampered with, residents may expect a R11 000 fine, excluding VAT.

No person may prevent or restrict physical access of any employee of the council or to the utility supply system of the council.

A fine of R11 660 may be issued to residents who do that. Municipal workers or contractors will wear orange uniforms and have an identity card to be identified as municipal workers during the installation period.

[email protected]

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  AUTHOR
Nelie Erasmus
JOURNALIST

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