BCC clarifies water metre replacement not mandatory, but option to purchase available

Gibson Mhaka

THE Bulawayo City Council (BCC) has clarified that replacing faulty or dysfunctional council-installed water metres is not mandatory.

However, consumers can choose to purchase their own metres if they prefer to avoid waiting for council inventory.

According to the city’s by-laws, all water metres are council properties, and the local authority has the obligation and responsibility of maintaining and repairing them.

The clarification follows accusations from residents that the local authority was short-changing them.

These accusations stemmed from reports that residents were instructed to either buy new metres or fix existing ones at their own expense.

In response to questions about the water metre issue, BCC corporate communications manager Nesisa Mpofu clarified that while a policy exists allowing consumers to purchase their own metres, and get them tested, and installed by council plumbers consumers were not forced to exercise this option.

“The water metre is a Council property. There’s a policy in place that allows those consumers who can buy metres to buy them and have them tested and installed by Council plumbers. Thereafter, the consumer’s account is credited with the cost of the metre.

“No private plumber has a right to tamper with the Council water metre. After installation, the metre is registered in the Council billing system with the first/installation reading provided by the Council plumber who installed the metre.

“Council is not obligating the consumers to replace metres, the provision is available for those who are able to buy metres instead of waiting for Council to get them in stock. Consumers are not forced to exercise this option. The water metre is a property of the Council,” said Mpofu.

She said when residents lack functioning meters, the city council implements an estimated billing system. This system is based on either past water usage or property size.

If estimated billing is used, Mpofu explained, that the charges were based on three months average consumption.

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