Confusion about the purchase price of electricity has prompted the Overstrand Municipality to issue a statement clarifying their position regarding auxiliaries on overdue accounts.

“Auxiliary as a debt collection mechanism has, in compliance with municipal policy, been part of Overstrand Municipality’s debt collection method on accounts in arrears for many years,” it reads. This means that 60% of the purchase amount for electricity is credited to the person’s arrears account, as a method to reduce the outstanding balance that is owed to the municipality.

“At the start of lockdown at the end of March 2020, it was decided not to apply the auxiliaries for a period of three months, in order to be lenient to individuals who could not honour the payment of their municipal accounts.”

When this information was advertised in the media, the municipality says it requested the public to contact them in order to apply for an extension of payment of accounts, thus allowing households ample time to apply for an arrangement to be made between the parties. According to the municipality, however, there has since this announcement been an acceleration of unpaid accounts across all areas.

“With the announcement of the Level 3 lockdown regulations, the municipality again informed the public that the auxiliary on electricity purchases would be reinstated as of 30 June 2020. If your account was up to date – or arrangements had been made and honoured – the auxiliary would not apply,” says the municipality.

According to the municipality, these decisions were made after careful consideration of its finances and sustainability, while acknowledging the financial strain on the public, due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

“The public is once again urged to not just stop paying their accounts, but to contact the municipality in order to make arrangements to settle the arrears. If arrangements are honoured, the auxiliary charge of 60% will not apply.”

In applying for a payment arrangement, the municipality says your information could also assist the administration with assessing whether you possibly qualify for indigent support and, if the application is successful, you could receive an indigent subsidy.

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