Having delayed actions to disconnect the Northern Cape defaulters in order to give more room for payment, Eskom finally decides to pull the plug on five defaulting municipalities. They include:
This means that the towns of Warrenton, Hopetown, Victoria West, Barkly West and Petrusville will be affected by the power outage.
According to the power utility, the disconnection does not in any way relate to load shedding but rather to the existing payment terms and payment arrangements which these municipalities have defaulted on. “The municipalities have been defaulting on payments for the past three years” Eskom spokesperson Khulu Phasiwe said.
Explaining further on the need to disconnect them, Phasiwe said:
“On average, about three years of defaulting, sometimes even more, depending on the municipality. Not to say they were not paying, they were, but not in full and unfortunately these amounts accumulate interest.”
“Supply will be disconnected between 07:00 – 10:00 and 18:00 – 20:00 only in the mentioned municipalities. This is not load shedding”
According to him, the company had been able to avoid load shedding for the past 136 days and expects the system to remain stable throughout the rest of the summer period following a rigorous programme of planned maintenance without implementing load shedding.
Report also said that the total combined arrears debt for the five defaulting municipalities stands above R113 million as at December 2015, which therefore threatens the financial sustainability of Eskom in the Northern Cape.
“Eskom is legally bound by the Public Finance and Management Act (PFMA) to collect all revenue due to it and therefore, we cannot allow debt levels to go unchecked.” it said.
The utility reiterated that its decision to disconnect the light from these municipalities for just 8 hours (4 hours in the morning and 4 hours in the evening) does not negate the fact that they are unaware of their consumer’s hardship but that non-payment for electricity undermined the company’s obligation to generate and supply power to municipalities nationally on a financially sustainable basis.
The 2016 financial year outage plan had made provision to execute 10.5% planned maintenance (4 624 MW). Eskom is therefore projecting that 13% planned maintenance (5 725 MW) will be achieved by the end of the current financial year. This would therefore reflect an increase of 2.5% (1 101 MW) over and above the initial planned maintenance scheduled for the current financial year.
However, warning letters have been sent to other defaulting municipalities to pay up their bills or face disconnections.