Eskom gives Free State reprieve on power cut

Johannesburg - Eskom has agreed to suspend the disconnection of bulk electricity to Free State municipalities, the power utility said on Friday.

"An agreement has been reached that allows for further detailed engagements and development of payment plans by all affected municipalities during August 2014," Eskom said.

The disconnection was planned to start on Monday.

No details on the agreement were available.

The Democratic Alliance welcomed the agreement between Eskom and the Free State provincial government on the municipal electricity debt.

However, the DA's David van Vuuren said the municipalities were unable to manage their finances.

Financial situation

"Free State municipalities are unable to manage their finances appropriately. They also fail dismally in the collection of outstanding revenue from residents," Van Vuuren said.

"Last year Free State municipalities failed to collect more than R5.4bn in household debt. Paying residents cannot be held responsible and threatened with suspension of services because of the incompetence of municipalities."

He said Eskom's non-payment by municipalities for services rendered should be dealt with by the cabinet.

The Free State provincial government was not in a healthy financial situation, he said.

"The Free State, at local and provincial government level, is heading toward a financial crisis," Van Vuuren said.

"The current state of affairs is indicative of an embedded culture of unaccountability, lack of transparency and recklessness within municipalities and provincial departments."

In September 2013, Eskom published a notice that it was planning to disconnect electricity to the Maluti-A-Phofung municipality, which failed to settle a bill of more than R205m.

Some of the money was outstanding for more than 90 days.

Eskom planned to disconnect power to the municipality on 4 December 2013.

Towns and municipal areas affected would have been Harrismith, QwaQwa, Kestell, Tshiame, Phuthaditjhaba, Tsheseng, and Witsieshoek.

A similar notice was published for the Ngwathe municipality, which apparently owed more than R188m.

Towns and areas affected by this notice were Edenville, Heilbron, Koppies, Parys, Phiritona, and Vredefort.

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Stephanes Heunis 2014/08/02 09:49:52 AM
let's continue allow illegal connections. it's gonna been dark, very dark!
Ons Mense 2014/08/02 09:50:51 AM
Now that is Africa for you...consume and pay for nothing without producing a single thing...a burden on the human race.
MHH 2014/08/02 10:13:59 AM
It's like a river. The tap. The plug. It's in there. They have it. We should "be haaving it". Get the picture? Whenever you see a "services gathering" don't forget, that mob wants it... but for zip. Nothing. Someone's got to pay of course and that's going to be you - the one already paying top dollar tariffs. That's why they hate cash meters!! But they are still paying rock bottom tariffs.
John Greystoke 2014/08/02 10:23:06 AM
So Eskom raise the price of electricity to cover the loses in the Free State, we that do pay, and the municipalities that do pay Eskom, must now subsidize the non payers! That doesn't solve the problem of non payment. This is not right!
Terrence W Pringle 2014/08/02 10:30:38 AM
This is AFRICA!
Nin Ja Kitty 2014/08/02 10:31:20 AM
And the rest of us.
Anakin Stealthwalker 2014/08/02 11:05:08 AM
"The Free State provincial government was not in a healthy financial situation, he said" WHY NOT?
Ria Cook 2014/08/02 11:38:54 AM
About time we all pay our electricity directly to Eskom. That way they can cut off whoever is not paying, and stop this nonsense of letting the municipalities charge a fee for charging customers (and then not paying the money over to Eskom).
Jacqui Daane Van Rensburg 2014/08/02 11:50:32 AM
You don't pay electricity to the municipality so they can pay Eskom. You pay so the Mayor can drive around in a fat, expensive car and drink Chevas Regal.
Jeffrey David Hamilton Walker 2014/08/02 04:57:35 PM
So instead of collecting, or cutting them off, they want us paying clients to pay more with their latest Nersa application for increase in power, When are we going to stop subsidizing this corrupt Government and their municipalities and para-statetals ? I say privatize ESKOM! SABC, and other corrupt State entities.