South Africa – Eskom has entered into payment agreements with 10 out of the 20 defaulting municipalities which owe the State-owned utility for non-payment of bulk electricity supply.

The municipalities include the Nama Khoi municipality in Northern Cape, the Nketoana, Nala and Dihlabeng municipalities in the Free State, the Thabazimbi Municipality in Limpopo, the City of Matlosana, Naledi and Madibeng municipalities in the North West and the Randfontein and Westonaria municipalities in Gauteng.

Eskom announced on April, 10 2015, that it had begun to notify all parties who are likely to be affected, as it contemplated interrupting bulk electricity supply to the top 20 defaulting municipalities across the country, effective June 5, 2015.

Outstanding debt

At the time the total municipal arrear debt greater than 30 days was R4.67 billion. Of this amount, the top 20 defaulting municipalities owed Eskom about R3.68 billion for the bulk supply of electricity.

Since, the announcement, the total municipal arrear debt has been reduced by R54 million.

Co-operation required

Eskom said in a statement that the bulk electricity supplies of municipalities that have entered into a payment agreement with the utility will not be interrupted. However, these municipalities have to comply consistently with payment agreement terms on a monthly basis. If these conditions are not met, interruptions of supply will be implemented without further notice.

“Eskom has reached a point where it can no longer continue to provide power without receiving payment in return. We are pleased that these 10 municipalities are doing their bit to ensure that they reduce the debt owed to Eskom and we encourage all defaulting municipalities to do the same,” says Eskom acting chief executive Brian Molefe.

Impending power interruptions

Meanwhile, Eskom has also issued public notices of impending power interruptions to defaulting municipalities in Mpumalanga and the Free State Provinces, effective June 5, 2015. The affected municipalities are Emalahleni, Govan Mbeki, Lekwa, Msukaligwa, Maluti-a-Phofung, Matjhabeng and Ngwathe.

The power interruptions will be implemented and regulated between 06h00 – 10h00 and again between 17h00 – 21h00  Monday to Friday and between 07h00 – 10h00 and 17h00 – 20h00 on the weekend.

Eskom recognises that this will cause undue hardship to members of the public and businesses in the affected areas, and also have an adverse effect on the delivery of other services. It therefore assures South Africa that power interruption and/or disconnection are only implemented as a last resort when all other viable options have been explored.

“Eskom is working closely with the relevant national and provincial departments through local, national and War Room structures to manage the municipal financial recovery process and we believe that the work being done within these structures will yield positive results,” Molefe said in the statement.

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