Eskom to cut power to two Free State municipalities from Wednesday over non-payment

Eskom will interrupt the power supply to two Free State municipalities that have failed to uphold their payment agreements, the power utility’s spokesperson Khulu Phasiwe said on Monday.

Phasiwe said the Tokologo and Nala municipalities would face power interruptions for up to six hours a day from Wednesday July 18, due to non-payment.

If the municipalities still fail to pay, then from July 24 the power supply will be cut for 14 hours between 06:00 and 20:00, he told Fin24 by phone.

The municipalities entered into an agreement with Eskom on June 25, a day before they were supposed to have power supply cut off due to non-payment.

They had to pay a certain amount of money at the end of June and again on July 13, but then reneged on these agreements and only made some of the payments at the end of June. According to Phasiwe, they completely omitted the payment on July 13.

"Since they failed to pay, we have to withdraw that product for that particular period we mentioned," he said.

Towns in the Tokologo municipality which will be affected are Hertzogville, Boshof, Dealesville and Seretse. In the Nala municipality, areas affected include Bothaville and Wesselsbron.

Asked if Eskom would be open to negotiating new agreements with the municipalities, Phasiwe said it would require a substantial payment from them for the power supplier to be convinced that they are serious about settling their debt.

"Let’s put it this way, the only way for them to get themselves out of this situation is if they come with a huge sum of money," he said. Tokologo municipality owes R30m.

"If they come with R5m, we will not buy their story because we have already seen they are not in a position to honour the agreement."

Phasiwe said that the small portions they have been paying has not worked to settle outstanding debt.

He admitted that R30m was a lot for a municipality to raise in one go. "But it’s about the principle. If you enter into the agreement, you need to honour the agreement."

Phasiwe said the two municipalities had not communicated with Eskom about their failure to make payments, which contributed to the problem.

The websites of the two municipalities did not have information on the electricity interruptions. The municipalities did not immediately respond to requests for comment on Monday. 

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