PLUMTREE – Women’s Institute for Leadership Development (WILD) together with Plumtree Town Council facilitated a local governance process training on water meter readings for the local staff. This followed appeals from community women in Solwezi to train staff on responsive service delivery and stakeholder management.
The Water Superintendent at Plumtree Town Council, Mr. Bhebhe stressed the importance of individuals with the sole responsibility of meter reading to create a good relation with tax payers saying it is a fundamental aspect in improving their work ethic.
“As a meter reader, you meet a lot of people with different characters. What is important is that you carry good interpersonal relations with everybody. As a meter reader you have to be quick to grasp concepts as it helps you to remember minor details tax payers might want to use against you should something go wrong,” he said.
Mr. Gilbert Sibanda, another Council representative emphasized the need to properly introduce themselves and clearly state the purpose of the visit.
“When you arrive at homes where you work, it is important that you first introduce yourself boldly without showing any fear. This will assure that your costumer will not take advantage of you. If want to read the meter you say so in your introductions,” he said.
Meter readers were taught on how to deal with cloudy or unclear meters, troublesome figures, abnormal readings and unserviceable meters. Mr. Bhebhe urged meter readers to constantly keep records to avoid quarrels between tax payers and the Town Council.
“We encourage you to use your smartphones to take pictures of meter readings that you think might give you problems in the future. This will enable you to provide evidence should a tax payer deny to pay.”
“When carrying out readings you must first ensure that the meter is not broken and it works properly. Such practices save you as a meter reader the time of carrying out readings on nonfunctional meters and also guarantees you correct figures,” said Bhebhe.
The participants were given time to demonstrate skills they attained from the training with most of them exhibiting signs that they grabbed most concepts.
Mr Bhebhe encouraged meter readers to report all meters that were illegally installed. He said meter readers were primary information providers to the council, stating that their meter reading determined the profits or the losses the institution would incur.
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