Municipalities owe Eskom R1.4 billion

By Drum Digital
25 November 2013

Municipalities around the country owe Eskom more than R1.4 billion in overdue electricity bills.

Municipalities around the country owe Eskom more than R1.4 billion in overdue electricity bills, according to Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Lechesa Tsenoli.

"As at August 31 [this year], 90 municipalities were in arrears for 60 days, and 52 municipalities were in arrears for 90 days," he said in written reply to a parliamentary question.

The total amount outstanding for 60 days was R470.8 million; for 90 days, R362.7m; and, for more than 90 days, R570m.

A task team was dealing with the problem, Tsenoli said.

The Democratic Alliance on Monday noted that the highest debt had been accumulated by municipalities in Mpumalanga (R485m), the Free State (R466m), and Gauteng (R162m).

"The DA will write to... [Finance Minister] Pravin Gordhan requesting that National Treasury mediate between Eskom and the offending municipalities," DA MP Jacques Smalle said in a statement.

Last week, Eskom had announced its first energy supply emergency since 2008, and published a load-shedding schedule as a "precautionary measure", an indication of the severity of South Africa's electricity crisis.

"With 40 percent of Eskom's electricity sold to municipalities these local government structures must take all steps to prevent a further exacerbation of South Africa's power crisis," he said.

-by Sapa

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