Four municipalities owe Eskom more than R900 million

Four municipalities in Mpumalanga are experiencing power-supply interruptions.

According to Eskom’s national spokesperson, Khulu Phasiwe, the energy provider made this decision after the municipalities did not honour their settlement agreement.

The municipalities which owe more than R 900 million include Mkhondo (Piet Retief and Armsterdam), Govan Mbeki (Secunda, Bethal, Emzinoni & Embalenhle), Dipaleseng (Grootvlei, Balfour and Newspring Colliers) and Thaba Chweu (Lydenburg, Sabie and Mashishing).

The municipalities which owe more than R 900 million include Mkhondo (Piet Retief and Armsterdam), Govan Mbeki (Secunda, Bethal, Emzinoni & Embalenhle), Dipaleseng (Grootvlei, Balfour and Newspring Colliers) and Thaba Chweu (Lydenburg, Sabie and Mashishing).

Eskom suspended planned interruptions at several municipalities earlier this year after they had reached agreements to settle their debts.

There were 62 payment agreements, however, only 20 municipalities honoured them. The situation deteriorated in June with overdue debt increasing to R11,54 billion.

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The supply cuts started in September. “A decision had to be made to commence with interruptions in September and October. These municipalities are failing the people because community members are paying for the services, however, our client does not pay us.

Our clients are the municipalities and when we deal with this matter we work directly with them and not the community.”

Eskom is aware of the impact its actions have on members of the public. “We decided to implement power cuts rather than complete disconnection. The power is off for four hours, from 06:00 to 08:00 and 17:00 to 19:30 on week days, and on weekends from 08:30 to 11:00 and 15:00 to 17:30.

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We chose peak hours because we know this is the time when the public needs electricity the most.”
“Some municipalities tell the community members that Eskom is switching off the power not them. They do not tell the people that the reason for that is because they did not pay. They are failing the people and we do not want to do that too. We are sitting in a tight spot because we do not want those people who are paying to be affected although we need to do what needs to be done,” said Phasiwe.

The municipalities are currently negotiating with Eskom.

  AUTHOR
Bridget Mpande

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