Mooi River in the dark

2016-06-27 11:59

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Pietermaritzburg - As winter tightens its grip on the little Midlands town of Mooi River, residents there are being subjected to load shedding on a daily basis.

While Eskom suspended its dreaded load shedding last year, residents of Mooi River are peeved to find themselves subjected to all the irritations of blackouts again.

A Mooi River resident told The Witness he had heard that the town owes a large amount of money to Eskom and so the Mpofana Municipality had implemented load shedding to ensure the bill does not escalate even further during the cold winter months. He said power in his area was shut off from 11 pm to 4 am each night and again from 11 am to around 5 pm each day.

He said the word in the town was that rampant electricity theft in Bruntville had resulted in the municipality running up a massive electricity bill and they could not afford to pay it.

DA councillor Nhlalayenza Ndlovu said a letter had been sent out to residents about the load shedding. He said the municipality owed Eskom around R13 million. “They are trying to save whatever they can.”

He said certain parts of Bruntville had become a no-go zone for municipal workers who were trying to disconnect the illegal connections. He said the workers had been threatened and intimidated, so had stopped going to those areas. But now, when they approached other areas in Bruntville, the residents in those areas were telling them to go and disconnect the no-go areas first before they took away their illegal connections.

Ndlovu said it had also been discovered that a major business in Mpofana had been paying about R300 per month for electricity, which he alleged was due to electricity theft there.

“So this is now the municipality’s strategy — to load shed.”

Eskom referred all queries to the municipality, saying they were unable to divulge what Mpofana owed them.

Mpofana mayor Maureen Magubane said the municipality, after negotiations with Eskom on how their R13 million debt would be paid, resorted to implementing load shedding as a means to avoid monthly tariff increases.

After establishing that the debt resulted from widespread theft of electricity in the Bruntville area, Magubane said the municipality conducted consultative meetings with community leaders, and have since resolved some of the issues brought up.

Magubane said the council will meet again to propose a new load-shedding schedule to facilitate Muslims during the fasting month of Ramadaan and for burials on the weekend.

— Witness Reporter.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  load shedding  |  electricity

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