15 February 2017

South Africa: Eskom to Keep Lights On in Northern Cape

Eskom will not implement bulk power supply interruptions in two municipalities in the Northern Cape that were scheduled to take place today

Pretoria - Eskom will not implement bulk power supply interruptions in two municipalities in the Northern Cape that were scheduled to take place today.

The supply interruptions were meant to take place in Ubuntu and Renosterberg municipalities.

"The Renosterberg municipality has come up with an acceptable payment plan for the settlement of their arrears debt, while the Ubuntu municipality has made a payment proposal which is currently being evaluated by Eskom. A final decision on the proposal will be made by 12:00 today," Eskom said on Wednesday.

The power utility said the interruption of supply is as a result of non-payment by municipalities.

"It remains an agonising decision for Eskom and is a means of last resort. We take solace in the fact that we spared no effort to collect outstanding debts amicably.

"In spite of the fact that both the provisions of the Electricity Regulation Act 4 of 2006 and supply agreements (with the municipalities) empower Eskom to disconnect electricity completely, Eskom has opted for a softer approach of interrupting electricity during certain hours in the day," said Eskom.

Eskom will monitor the strict adherence to the payment plans and the payment of current accounts of such and other municipalities. Any defaults will result in the interruption of supply without further notice.

"Municipal customers are encouraged to engage with their supply authorities to get updated information on their municipalities' arrears situation," said Eskom.

Last month, Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown instructed Eskom to give municipalities until the end of January to clear their outstanding arrears before switching off the lights. This was welcomed by the power utility.

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