Update: Eskom pulls plug on power cuts in Eastern Cape
Eskom earlier cut the electricity supply because four municipalities collectively owed it millions.
CAPE TOWN - Eskom says it will not institute more power cuts to four Eastern Cape municipalities, in peak hours, after they agreed to settle their outstanding bills.
At least 100,000 residents from six Eastern Cape towns experienced power cuts today because their municipalities collectively owed it R173 million.
But after a meeting between the provincial government and Eskom, the power utility agreed to suspend power cuts.
Eskom's Khulu Phasiwe says, "They have come to an agreement with the municipalities, and as a result we are not going to be affected by the power interruption which was scheduled for 5pm."
Earlier this afternoon, the Eastern Cape government and four municipalities that had had their power cut off were locked in a meeting with Eskom.
The cash-strapped parastatal has for months been asking the defaulting municipalities to settle their bills.
Eskom's decision to pull the plug on the four municipalities would have effectively left the towns of Burgersdorp, Steynsburg, Aliwal North, Jansenville, Adelaide and Bedford without power.
The power utility's Khulu Phasiwe said Eskom had planned cut power to the municipalities for nine hours a day at different intervals unless an agreement was reached today.
Meanwhile, the South African Local Government Association(Salga) earlier expressed its disappointment at Eskom's decision to switch off the lights for the municipalities in the Eastern Cape.
Salga's Tahir Sema said they'd previously had discussions with Eskom and National Treasury about the matter.
"We had set out a plan in which municipalities could pay Eskom. We are disappointed that these cuts are taking place. Sadly, they will affect the poorest households more than anyone else."