Eskom backtracks on EC municipalities power cuts

DECEMBER 23, 2015

Eskom has agreed not to implement power cuts to four Eastern Cape municipalities on Tuesday, after a lengthy meeting resulted in a truce.

“They have come to an agreement with the municipalities, and as a result we are not going to be affected by the power interruption which was scheduled for 17:00,” Eskom spokesperson Khulu Phasiwe told Eyewitness News on Tuesday.

As required by the Promotion of Administrative Justice Act, Eskom had given Aliwal North, Steynsburg, Jansenville, Bedford and Adelaide municipalities sufficient notice to settle their debt, which totals R172-million.

Eskom was planning on interrupting power supply three times a day, from 06:00 to 09:00, 12:00 to 14:00 and 17:00 to 21:00, starting on Tuesday.

Phasiwe told Fin24 earlier that the power interruptions were Eskom’s last resort to recover the money. He said Eskom had taken necessary steps to recover the debt before the interruptions.

“We wrote them letters. We also involved other stakeholders such as provincial co-operative governance and Traditional Affairs leadership and the South African Local Government Association,” he said.

Rising municipal debt is a long-standing problem for Eskom. National Treasury earlier this year urged municipalities to honour their financial obligations to the power supplier.

Residents and businesses in the affected municipalities - some of whom have been paying their electricity bills diligently - will bear the brunt of the move.