By Zukile Majova
For months they dodged paying their lights bills.
And ignored numerous notices threatening legal action against them.
But when officials from Johannesburg’s City Power knocked on the doors of errant business customers, they produced large sums of cash.
A church which owed R740,000 produced R200,000 while a college produced R1 million on the spot.
The Nigerian Consulate in Illovo in Sandton which owes R600,000 was disconnected after it refused to meet officials from City Power.
Officials of the power entity are on a three-day campaign to recover R363 million of the R4 billion owed by residents, businesses and state buildings.
City Power spokesperson Isaac Mangena said a Sandton Hotel owed R1,1 million while another owed R2.6 million.
“We need to move on revenue collections and we have noted the customer we are visiting does have money but they just decide not to pay.
But what we’ve seen which is funny is that every time we knock on their doors they will have something.
“We went to Central Joburg College yesterday which owed about a million rands and they paid it on the spot immediately.”
Mangena said businesses that were disconnected on Tuesday were at City Power in the morning to pay large deposits and make arrangements to pay the rest in installments.
During these Tough times of Stage 5 and Stage 6 load shedding, City Power is bleeding money with an estimated R3.6 million lost every day.
The bulk of this goes to replacing expensive cables stolen during lengthy periods of black outs while more money is spent on security for assets and replacing transformers that blow up more regularly.
The entity is also losing money paying overtime allowances and compensating technicians who are being prevented from taking leave because they are needed to respond to various outages.
Beyond this the entity is under pressure to roll out new infrastructure in settlements that do not have electricity.
Pictured above: City Power disconnects the Nigerian Consulate
Image source: @CityPowerJhb