Given the rising costs of electricity, not to mention ongoing loadshedding, prepaid metering systems are often the go-to method for many South Africans at the moment. Postpaid electricity, however, often include a few surprise payments when billing comes around, leaving many customers scrabbling for ways to pay.
With that in mind, managing director of local metering company Citiq Prepaid, Micheal Franze, discusses a way in which tenants and landlords alike can find a fair way in how they can pay their electricity bill without any disputes.
He explains that the root of the problem is that the municipality councils only provide one prepaid electricity meter for a property, regardless of how may dwellings there might be.
“Lack of information leads to a lack of trust on all sides, disputes over electricity bills are a major problem in the property sector, and they cost everyone a lot of time, money and frustration,” says Franze.
Furthermore he notes that this problem leaves landowners, tenants and body corporates with very limited set of options, such as to split the bill pro-rata, or installing their own kWh meters and reading them monthly, which may lead to costly administration or disputes if tenants don’t trust the readings.
Franze adds that installing sub-meters can provide transparency and reduce the risk of everyone involved, with the benefits being equally tangible. For tenants, prepaid makes their own electricity consumption more visible and manageable and they can be able to track their consumption on a day-to-day basis.
“With Citiq prepaid we collect money from tenants and other end users upfront and keep it in a trust account. The only charge is an 8.75 percent handling fee which is completely transparent to all users. At the end of the month the money is transferred to the landowners and they pay the municipal bill directly. This enables the landlord to stay in control of the billing relationship with the municipality, but with no collection issues,” the MD explains.
Lastly touching on Citiq’s offering, Franze says the company adds that it provides a range of reports to electricity users and landlords alike, which can be emailed or accessed through an online dashboard. The reports are easy to understand and tenants can easily access their payment history, while the landlords can access the information for all their properties and can identify pilferers or discrepancies between the council bill and what the tenants spent.[Image – CC 0 Pixabay]