Eskom won’t negotiate conditions for restoration of power in Soweto

Residents, who have been without electricity since June, took their frustrations to Eskom’s front door on Tuesday, staging a protest outside Megawatt Park.

FILE: Illegal electricity connection. Picture: Christa Eybers/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Eskom said it would not negotiate on the conditions that need to be met before it restores power to some parts of Soweto.

The community of Pimville in zone 2 was plunged into darkness three months ago when a transformer in the high-density area exploded.

Residents, who have been without electricity since June, took their frustrations to Eskom’s front door on Tuesday, staging a protest outside Megawatt Park.

Eskom said it agreed to talk to the community, but insisted power would only be supplied if residents removed illegal connections or made up for the costs of bypassed meters.

Eskom implemented so-called load reduction in large parts of Soweto and the Vaal on Wednesday.

The utility said it would restore power at 9 pm.

Soweto residents and Eskom have been at loggerheads over billing systems and illegal connections in the township, with residents in Pimville not spared.

Paying customers were now pushing back, insisting that they were been treated unfairly.

However, Eskom’s Renelioe Semenya said until payment backlogs were cleared, or the unauthorised tampering of its network infrastructure stops, nothing could be done.

“We need to do what is best for Eskom and ensure that services that are rendered are paid for. In areas that are serviced we need to make sure customers are paying and there are no illegal connections or operations. We then prioritise those areas as have constraints with resources.”

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