On 25th May, 2022, CFTC commenced investigations against Southern Region Water Board on allegations of misleading conduct and unconscionable conduct.
The Complainant alleged that the house he rents has had a faulty water meter whose readings have been stuck at one spot since July 2017. As such, the Respondent put the house on average billing arrangement for purposes of computing water consumption.
By the time the Complainant moved into the house, water consumption was pegged at 15 kiloliters per month. However, in April 2021, the Respondent revised monthly consumption upwards, without notice, to 20 kiloliters per month, with a corresponding bill of K9,649.78.
The Commission established that the Respondent used estimated water consumption to estimate the Complainant’s bill and that in May 2021, the Respondent increased the estimated water bills by double, which was on the higher side. However, upon establishing the actual consumption levels, the Respondent did not undertake to properly bill the customer for the months he had been overbilled or provide him with a refund for the amounts he had been overbilled.
Following deliberations, the Commission found the Respondent liable and issued the following orders:
- That the Respondent should refund the Complainant the amount equivalent to 126m3 in lieu of the overestimated water consumption.
- That the Respondent should pay a fine of Five Hundred Thousand Kwacha (MK500,000.00) for engaging in misleading conduct;
- That the Respondent should pay a fine of Five Hundred Thousand Kwacha (MK500,000) for engaging in unconscionable conduct.