Off with the lights of everyone living and doing business in the Govan Mbeki Municipality

Residents have been left in the cold once again as the first round of negotiations between Eskom and the Govan Mbeki Municipality have collapsed and the deadline for power interruptions due to outstanding debt looms.

Mr Khulu Phasiwe, spokesman for Eskom, confirmed on Monday, 7 August that although Eskom was open to further negotiations, they had no choice but to warn residents of the possible interruptions.

“We are obliged to inform the residents when negotiations with the local municipality falls flat, and though we intend to continue speaking to the local officials and involve the provincial government, we have not reached an agreement yet.”

According to him, the new date for possible power interruptions is Monday, 9 October.

This new cutoff deadline comes after the initial debt owed by the municipality has escalated from approximately R340-m in March this year to more than R420-m today.

There have been a number of agreements reached between the municipality and Eskom before, and although there have been payments made to Eskom, the municipality has defaulted on their payments every single time.

A contributing factor to the current debt crisis is the problem of illegal connections and electricity theft.

It is estimated that nearly 50 per cent of all electricity used by residents is stolen, leaving the municipality with a massive deficit to make up.

In May this year, the total amount of electricity used by the municipality was close to R45-m, but the total amount that was reflected in municipal accounts was only about R25-m.

Close to R21-m was lost in just one month due to theft and illegal connections.

 

Read the complete article in the Ridge Times newspaper.

Residents are urged to submit written comments on this matter to Eskom.

 

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  AUTHOR
Willemien Aukema
Journalist

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