The City of Cape Town has warned residents they might receive hefty water bills following "technical challenges" with a new metering system.
Xanthea Limberg, mayoral committee member for informal settlements, water and waste services; and energy, said the City moved from a third party electronic platform to an in-house electronic interface system for the uploading of monthly water meter readings.
"Since this move, there have been technical challenges with uploading meter readings to the new system. As a result, some customers will receive estimated bills although their meter was read," Limberg said.
She warned that customers across the City would be affected by the technical issues.
"Where residents receive estimated bills, the City recommends that they settle the account as they would normally. If the estimate is higher than the actual usage then their account will be adjusted appropriately the next time the actual meter reading is captured," she said.
"In cases where estimated consumption far exceeds actual consumption, and residents are unable to afford the bill, they can approach the City's call centre or their closest walk-in centre to request an investigation. Debt management will be suspended until the investigation is resolved."
Residents urged to register for e-services
Limberg said the estimated bills were currently based on consumption for the same period in the previous year.
"This method is used to account for seasonal variation in water consumption. The City is however working to adapt the estimation method to account for changing consumption patterns due to the current water shortage. From 1 March 2018, estimated accounts will be based on average consumption at the property for the previous three months," she said.
"The City encourages as many residents as possible to register for e-services and do their own meter readings. Performing regular meter readings at your property is essential for effectively managing water consumption, and can act as an early warning for leaks on the property."
Limberg said residents of the City of Cape Town should also note the estimated readings could affect their green dot status on the City's water map.
"Residents who have had their consumption estimated will rather be given a grey dot reflecting that no data exists for consumption on the property. While this will cause some disappointment, it is important that we all continue to do our best to save water," she said.