City awaits Eskom response to plan
Makana Municipality is awaiting a response from Eskom to its latest payment plan.
This is the third version of a proposal for paying off the R53 million that remains of Makana’s debt to the power utility.
It is a bid to stave off threats of power interruptions to the municipality that formed part of an ultimatum issued last month.
On 7 December, Eskom published a notice in a regional newspaper saying that Makana Municipality was in breach of its payment obligation to it and that Eskom was contemplating a regulated interruption of electricity supply during certain hours. At the time, Makana’s debt amounted to R58.05m.
Eskom rejected Makana Municipality’s initial repayment plan that would have seen the payment of the final tranche in 2020.
Stipulating that the municipality must pay R23m by the end of March, Eskom also requested a new payment plan by 10 January. In response to questions, yesterday acting municipal manager Riana Meiring confirmed that the payment plan had been sent to Eskom on the agreed date.
“I received it back from Eskom, yesterday [Wednesday] and they requested minor adjustments which will be effected [Thursday]. The revised plan will be sent off [Thursday],” Meiring said.
Last week Afriforum lost a court bid to prevent Eskom from cutting off services to 10 municipalities, seven in the Free State and three in North West, that together owe Eskom around R700m. In an interview last week, Meiring told Grocott’s Mail she was confident that the outcome of negotiations with Eskom would be successful.
In its notice, Eskom invited representations, submissions and comments from the public with a deadline of 13 January.
The Grahamstown Residents Association has said it would submit a response.
“While Grahamstown Residents’ Association is optimistic that the negotiations between Makana municipality and Eskom will result in fresh agreement to pay off the debts to Eskom, GRA still recommends that people submit representations because the threat by Eskom to implement power cuts has not been removed,” secretary Tim Bull said.
The letter sent to Eskom by GRA on behalf of its members can be viewed at: http:// grahamstownresidentsassociation.co.za/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/EskomLetter11Jan17.pdf
Key points that GRA made in their letter to Eskom include that they should:
• Consider other more effective tactics rather than the economic destruction that would be caused by cutting supplies in a very poor part of the country;
• Review the extraordinarily high interest charge applied by Eskom to the Makana LM account;
• Adopt a supportive approach to resolving the R14 million adjustment, which should be treated as a separate item from the other long-standing debt;
• Work with the government to solve the problem systemically countrywide, “as it is not a matter of one or two delinquent municipalities”.