HomeNewsIndebted munis to pay or face power interruptions

Indebted munis to pay or face power interruptions

South African power utility Eskom today announced that the interruption of bulk electricity supply continues in the North West municipalities of Naledi, Lekwa-Teemane and Kgetlengrivier, as well as the Northern Cape municipalities of Ubuntu and Renosterberg.

It should be noted that electricity disconnections and bulk supply interruptions are implemented as a measure of last resort, and Eskom is willing to continue discussions with the affected municipalities in an effort to find an amicable resolution.

“We are certain that we have gone beyond the prescribed processes by engaging various other stakeholders in an attempt to create awareness of the planned electricity interruptions. In the end, we are compelled to resort to this step in consideration of Eskom’s financial sustainability,” said Eskom’s Interim Group Chief Executive Matshela Koko.

The power supply to these municipalities will be interrupted from 06h00 – 08h00 and 17h00 – 19h30 (Monday to Friday) and 08h30 – 11h00 and 15h00 – 17h30 (Saturday and Sunday). This arrangement will be in place until such time that payment has been made as per arrangements.

Power interruptions can be avoided

To avoid supply interruptions, the municipalities need to meet the following three requirements:

  • A cash payment as negotiated with each municipality;
  • A written undertaking in the form of a Council Resolution that current accounts will be honoured going forward; and
  • A payment plan for the arrears supported by a Council Resolution.

In terms of the Electricity Supply Agreement with the municipalities, the Eskom Distribution Licence Conditions and the Electricity Regulation Act (Act 4 of 2006), Eskom is allowed to disconnect customers for non-payment after having given customers a 14-day written notice. Disconnections are thus regarded as a credit control measure to protect Eskom’s financial position.

In order to limit the impact on members of the public, Eskom will not completely disconnect the electricity supply to the municipalities but rather interrupt electricity supply during certain times of the day only.

In terms of the conditions of the Distribution Licence issued to licensed municipal distributors by energy regulator Nersa, municipalities are obliged to pay the bulk supplier of electricity.

“We will be monitoring the strict adherence to the payment plans and the payment of current accounts of these municipalities and any defaults will result in the interruption of supply without further notice,” the parastatal said in a statement.

Ashley Theron
Ashley Theron-Ord is based in Cape Town, South Africa at Clarion Events-Africa. She is the Senior Content Producer across media brands including ESI Africa, Smart Energy International, Power Engineering International and Mining Review Africa.