Eskom is ‘serious about being sustainable and supplying power’

The utility announced that the top 20 defaulting municipalities would have electricity disruptions from June.

FILE: Eskom said its owed about R 4,6 billion. Picture: Reinart Toerien/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Ailing parastatal Eskom on Friday said its drastic decision to force municipalities to pay outstanding bills was proof that it was serious about being sustainable and being able to supply power to South Africans.

Earlier on Friday the utility announced that the top 20 defaulting municipalities would have electricity disruptions from June because they were in arrears of more than 30 days.

Eskom said it was owed about R 4,6 billion, and this was in line with government's call for municipalities to 'cough up'.

Should the power cuts go ahead, municipalities could face blackouts for up to eight hours a day.

Energy expert Ted Blom said this move highlighted some of Eskom's financial issues.

"I think it's going to alert the public and the municipality that Eskom is serious about collecting outstanding fee. And that will probably be a good thing, it's not fair that Eskom has to carry unpaid bills for months and month and eventually write them off."

Eskom's Khulu Phasiwe said they were forced to take drastic measures.

"We're seriously pursuing this matter, because we have been negotiating with many of them for a very long time. And that time has now lapsed sp we need to take drastic measures to make sure that we remain sustainable."

The utility said while power cuts, of four hours in the morning and four hours in the evening, would cause undue hardship on consumers, non-payment for electricity undermined its obligation to generate and supply power to municipalities nationally on a financially sustainable basis.

The top 20 defaulting municipalities are:

  • Maluti-a-Phofung Municipality

  • Matjhabeng Municipality

  • Emalahleni Local Municipality

  • Ngwathe Local Municipality

  • Thaba Chweu Local Municipality

  • Lekwa Local Municipality

  • Govan Mbeki Municipality

  • City of Matlosana Local Municipality

  • Naledi Local Municipality

  • Thabazimbi Local Municipality

  • Msukaligwa Local Municipality

  • Lichtenburg Municipality

  • Nala Local Municipality

  • Makana Local Municipality

  • Madibeng Local Municipality

  • Randfontein Local Municipality

  • Dihlabeng Municipality

  • Nketoana Local Municipality

  • Nama Khoi Local Municipality

  • Westonaria Local Municipality

The location of the defaulting municipalities. Source: EWN.