Michele du Plessis
Thaba Chweu Local Municipality is due for planned interruption of electricity supply from 9 October 2017. As to date, no suitable agreement could be reached between Eskom and TCLM. Interruption of supply to municipalities is an action of last resort and only implemented after all other mechanisms have been exhausted and have failed to deliver the required outcomes. “The municipality is in constant negotiations with the power utility. We are doing our utmost best to keep up with our payment plan,” Puleng Mapheto, Thaba Chweu Local Municipality Communications Manager said.
“Earlier this year, Eskom suspended the planned interruption of bulk power supply to several municipalities after reaching agreements for the settlement of their arrears debt. However, this situation has since deteriorated, and at the end of May 2017, of the 62 payment arrangements in place with the defaulting municipalities, only 20 municipalities were honouring their agreements. By the end of August, total municipal overdue debt sat at R11.245bn.” Dikatso Mothae, Deputy spokesperson, Eskom Media Desk, said. TCLM currently owes Eskom approximately R355 770 257.00.
As a result, Eskom re-initiated the Promotion of Administrative Justice Act process. “We issued 58 default letters notifying municipalities of our intentions in June 2017. These were followed up with 22 public notices published in July and August. The public notices in the local newspapers give ordinary citizens and the business community the opportunity to provide input to Eskom, but also to engage their municipality on why it is not paying the Eskom account,” Mothae said. “Due to winter season our monthly bill escalated, as a result, we defaulted to honour the payment plan as agreed by the power utility and the municipality. We warn those who are connecting the electricity illegally to refrain as their illegal activities affect the rest of the residents,” Mapheto said.
“As it stands, Thaba Chweu is due for planned interruption of supply on 9 October 2017. We are engaging the concerned municipality and we are hopeful that we will come to an acceptable payment agreement,” Mothae concluded. Puleng Mapheto, TCLM, stated that: “We, however, want to assure community members that the municipality is doing its best to avoid the interruption of bulk electricity and encouraging members of the public to keep their electricity bill up to date.”
If no agreement can be reached between Eskom and TCLM, the following black out measures will be implemented from October 9th: Monday to Friday—06:00 to 08:00 and 17:00 to 19:00. Saturday and Sunday: 08:30 to 11:00 and 15:00 to 17:30.