South Africa’s industry leader in utility savings.

Venn Diagnostics comprehensively investigates all utility charge savings opportunities.

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CASE STUDY: RATES, ELECTRICITY, WATER AND CHARGES
CUSTOMER: Large corporate, renting a five–floor building
CONTRACTED VENN TO: Investigate all municipal charges
VENN'S FINDINGS
Electricity

A Meter Reading Agent employed by the landlord was incorrectly charging for five meter readings (one per floor), despite there being only one meter for the entire building.
The Meter Reading Agent was not applying the most cost-effective tariff and was over-recovering kWh consumption through incorrect tenant allocations.

Rates

The landlord’s rates-recovery percentage applied was inconsistent with the terms of the lease, resulting in an over-recovery.

Water

Venn discovered that the municipal monthly water consumption of 200 kl was understated and should be 2 000 kl per month. The landlord and tenant thus had a potentially liability of approximately R1 million in unforeseen water and sewer back-charges.

OUTCOME
Electricity

The customer received a refund of R 560 000 from the Meter Reading Agent.
The electricity bill decreased by approximately R 36 000 per month.
Subsequent remote meter monitoring by Venn uncovered errors on two separate occasions

Rates

The customer received a refund of R 160 000 on incorrectly charged rates as per the lease agreement. Monthly rates-recovery charges were reduced by R 14 000.

Water

The landlord was able to make provision for the potential back-charges by recovering charges based on actual consumption. The Municipality remains unaware of their under-billing.

CASE STUDY: REFUSE ASSESSMENT
CUSTOMER: Business Park
CONTRACTED VENN TO: Investigate all municipal charges
VENN'S FINDINGS
Refuse

Approximately half the refuse collected by Council was recyclable.

A large portion of the bins were under-utilised and over-collected.

OUTCOME
Refuse

The tenants were encouraged to participate in a “green” initiative through recycling. Additional marked bins were provided. Wood, paper and glass recycling companies were contacted by Venn and agreed to remove these products at no cost.

The number of municipal bins and collections was then optimized.
The net result was a saving of approximately R 25 000 per month.

CASE STUDY: RATES ASSESSMENT
CUSTOMER: Educational institution
CONTRACTED VENN TO: Investigate rates charges for subsidized student housing
VENN'S FINDINGS

Venn’s valuators and legal experts conducted a specialised investigation into the Rates Act and the legality of Municipal Rates Bylaws, with emphasis on their application for subsidized housing. It was found that subsidized student hostels were included under the same category as “hotels” and thus the commercial tariff was applied.

Venn presented a compelling argument to the municipalities concerned and they agreed that this practice was intrinsically unfair and never intended. The bylaw was subsequently changed to permit de-facto hostels to benefit from the cheaper domestic tariff.

OUTCOME

The application of the domestic tariff resulted in these institutions achieving a rates charge reduction of R 440 000 per month and a refund of R 2.1 million.

CASE STUDY: WATER ASSESSMENT
CUSTOMER: Educational institution
CONTRACTED VENN TO: Investigate water charges
VENN'S FINDINGS

The institution was being charged for estimated readings on two meters, both of which were never read due to being in the middle of the road and covered by a large steel structure. Venn’s analysis showed that the water volume charged was impossible given the usage and occupancy levels. A pipe network trace confirmed no cross supply to other consumers and the leak detection survey found no substantive wastage.

Venn liaised with the municipality to remove the steel structure in the road via crane, so that the meters could be inspected and readings taken. It was found that one of the meters was a municipal fire hydrant supply with zero consumption while the other supply meter had been consistently over-estimated. Venn arranged for the municipality to move the supply meters to an accessible location at municipal expense.

OUTCOME

The client received a R 1.4 million refund in water and related sewer charges and achieved an ongoing cost reduction of R 55 000 per month.

CASE STUDY: RATES ASSESSMENT
CUSTOMER: Educational institution
CONTRACTED VENN TO: Investigate municipal rates charges ahead of new General Valuation Roll
VENN'S FINDINGS

The institution’s buildings are constructed over numerous un-consolidated erven, each receiving a rates account based on an improvement and land valuation. Venn detected that many of the improvement values were duplicated on the various property rates valuations and thus the rates charges were based on double-counting.

OUTCOME

Venn lodged a rates objection, which was declined. Venn obtained the decision reasons and proved the incorrectness of the municipal valuation methodology to the municipal valuator. Venn appealed and the municipal valuator gave evidence in support of the appeal.

The client received a refund of R 700 000 and the institution’s total rates payable was reduced by R 45 000 per month.

CASE STUDY: WATER AND SEWERAGE CHARGES IN FRAIL CARE FACILITIES
CUSTOMER: -
CONTRACTED VENN TO: Independent investigation into ethical water charges
VENN'S FINDINGS

Municipal bylaws allow senior citizens who are independent and self-sufficient to be charged domestic water and sewerage charges.

However, frail care facilities in retirement homes - many run by churches and charities - were being regarded by the Council as “hospitals” and thus the more expensive, commercial water and sewerage tariffs were applied.

OUTCOME

As a result of Venn’s specialised appeal process and ability to work with the Council, a subsidized Frail Care Tariff was introduced, thereby reducing the burden on charitable organisations and their pensioners.


ABOUT VENN DIAGNOSTICS

Over 30 years experience
Over R500 Million saved for clients

Venn Diagnostics was founded in 1988. With over 30 years of experience and a country-wide database of erven, tariffs, policies and consumption statistics and state-of-the-art GIS software, Venn is the established market leader in our field and the only company in South Africa who can comprehensively monitor, audit, manage, control and library all municipal bills.

A South African born company with a global footprint, Venn Diagnostics is unique in that we monitor all municipal charges in our service offering – assessment rates, valuations, City Improvement District levies, water, electricity, sewerage, refuse and effluent.

We are a proudly South African company committed to the implementation of effective cost reduction initiatives in partnership with our clients. We always act in an ethical and fair manner through aligning the aims of clients, staff and shareholders so that benefits are shared equitably in support of broad based transformation in South Africa. Venn Diagnostics is a level 4 BBEE contributor.

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