Eskom to disconnect electricity next week

Eskom has announced its final decision to interrupt or disconnect the bulk electricity supply to Madibeng next week because of non-payment.

The contemplated interruption will commence on 18 January, Eskom announced in a Final Decision Notice.

The notice was issued late December. According to information, the Madibeng municipality held an urgent council meeting yesterday to discuss the notice.

Eskom also issued a notice early in December, and Madibeng subsequently paid R90 million. However, according to information received, Madibeng now owes more than R45 million in arrears.

In the notice, Eskom says: Eskom has carefully considered all written representations, comments and/or submissions received which, among others, detailed the negative effect the contemplated interruption is likely to have on residents and business, the fact that some customers have health-related issues and many other representations. After careful consideration of all the representations and the overall impact of the escalating municipal debt, Eskom has taken a decision to proceed with the contemplated interruption and/or disconnection of bulk electricity supply to Madibeng Local Municipality.

This will affect Brits town and industrial area, Letlhabile, Oukasie, Damonsville, Elandsrand and Primindia. The electricity supply will be interrupted from Monday to Friday from 06:00 to 08:00 and 17:00 to 19:30, and on Saturday and Sunday from 08:30 to 11:00 and again from 15:00 to 17:30.

Eskom said it may, upon 15 calendar days’ notice, disconnect the supply entirely and indefinitely should the debt situation not improve.

Madibeng paid Eskom R90 million from its Equitable Share in December.

The North West Department of Local Government and Human Settlements said in a statement earlier this month that it is working with other stakeholders around the clock to ensure there is no electricity blackouts in municipalities.

“The action follows the intention by Eskom to implement power cuts in some municipalities which are not paying their services,” the department said in a statement.

MEC for Local Government and Human Settlements, Galaletsang Gaolaolwe said they have been working hard to avoid the situation. “The MEC for Finance, Economy and Enterprise Development and myself, have been in constant communication with the affected municipalities to find ways to avert the situation. The last engagements we had was on 22 December 2016 where we summoned the mayors, municipal managers and chief financial officers of affected municipalities under one roof to explain the reasons for the failure of payments to Eskom,” said MEC Gaolaolwe.

He said municipalities cited cash flow problems, non-adherence to payment plans and drought as reasons for the escalating debt.

The department is making a call to all communities in the province to pay their services in an effort to improve the cash flow of the municipalities.

Daleen van Manen

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