Eskom to pull plug on top 20 defaulting municipalities

Cape Town - Eskom plans to interrupt bulk electricity supply to the top 20 defaulting municipalities across the country, with effect from June.

This represented about 3.8 million people, or 7% of the population, Bloomberg reported.

As at March 31 2015, the total municipal arrears debt greater than 30 days was R4.6bn, Eskom said in a statement.

Of this amount, the top 20 defaulting municipalities are currently indebted to Eskom to the amount of R3.68bn for the bulk supply of electricity.

Eskom said it was “contemplating” a regulated interruption of electricity on Monday to Friday from 06:00 to 10:00 and 17:00 to 21:00, and on Saturday and Sunday from 07:00 to 10:00 and 17:00 to 20:00.

Eskom notified all parties who were likely to be materially and adversely affected as it contemplates interrupting bulk electricity supply to the top 20 defaulting municipalities across the country with effect from June 5 2015, the power utility said.

“Non-payment for electricity undermines Eskom’s statutory obligation to generate and supply electricity to municipalities nationally on a financially sustainable basis,” said acting Eskom CEO Zethembe Khoza.  

“We have therefore decided to exercise our right according to the provisions of the Electricity Regulation Act 4 of 2006 and the supply agreement with municipalities, which entitled us to disconnect the supply of electricity to defaulting municipalities.”  

Eskom said it recognised that the disconnection of electricity supply may cause undue hardship to consumers and members of the community, and may adversely affect the delivery of other services. However, customer disconnection is always the last resort.

Consumers within the jurisdiction of a defaulting municipality will be given adequate notice in terms of the Promotion of Administrative Justice Act no 3 of 2000, and will be given the opportunity to make written representations to Eskom.

Municipal leaders have accused government of using municipality money earmarked for delivering services to the poor to instead solve Eskom’s woes.

They are threatening to go to court after National Treasury froze the funds of 56 municipalities for owing R12.6bn for services, according to City Press.

READ: Municipalities at war with Treasury blame Eskom

This is the list of the top 20 defaulting municipalities (in no particular order):

-  Maluti-a-Phofung Municipality
-  Matjhabeng Municipality
-  Emalahleni Local Municipality
-  Ngwathe Local Municipality
-  Thaba Chweu Local Municipality
-  Lekwa Local Municipality
-  Govan Mbeki Municipality
-  City of Matlosana Local Municipality
-  Naledi Local Municipality
-  Thabazimbi Local Municipality
-  Msukaligwa Local Municipality
-  Lichtenburg Municipality
-  Nala Local Municipality
-  Makana Local Municipality
-  Madibeng Local Municipality
-  Randfontein Local Municipality
-  Dihlabeng Municipality
-  Nketoana Local Municipality
-  Nama Khoi Local Municipality
-  Westonaria Local Municipality

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