Eskom warns of dark December in Makana
Towns falling under Makana Municipality, including Makhanda (formerly Grahamstown), face a bleak December holiday season after Eskom warned that it in- tended interrupting bulk electricity supply to the defaulting municipality from December 4.
The prolonged interruptions – which from the second week in December will last over 14 hours a day – are likely to plunge essential services into crisis. While institutions such as Settlers Hospital and Rhodes University may have generators, the cost of running them is likely to be high, with the prohibitive and escalating cost of fuel.
In a notice published in provincial newspapers Friday, Eskom said the municipality owed it R67.5m.
The municipality’s breach placed in jeopardy Eskom’s ability to supply electricity to all municipalities on a financially sustainable basis.
It said an outright and indefinite disconnection would cause hardship to consumers and a collapse in other services and it would therefore implement a “regulated interruption” in supply.
In week one, this would involve the electricity being off from 6am to 9am, and from 5pm to 8.30pm. From week two, it would simply stop supply for 14 hours daily from 6am to 8pm.
DA councillor Mlindi Nhanha expressed the party’s dismay at Eskom’s notice.
Nhanha pointed out that during acting municipal manager Ted Pillay’s six-month stint in the first half of 2018, the municipality had stuck to its payment plan and reduced its debt to Eskom to a manageable R36m.
“It would seem all that hard work has been wiped away and we are back to square one.”
Nhanha said it was apparent at a budget steering committee meeting Friday that executive mayor, Nomhle Gaga, had been kept entirely in the dark about Eskom’s decision.
“Secrecy and non-transparency are seemingly returning to City Hall,” Nhanha said.
He called on her to act with urgency and then stick to an agreed upon payment plan with the bulk electricity supplier.
Despite being asked 24 hours in advance for comment, Makana municipal manager Moppo Mene had not responded to questions at the time of writing. Municipal spokesperson Yoliswa Ramokolo said on Thursday she would respond in due course.
Interruptions – from the second week in December will last over 14 hours a day – to plunge essential services into crisis