Eskom ‘fails’ on Soweto prom­ises

Res­i­dents say pre­paid boxes forced on them

Sowetan - - News - By Tankiso Makhetha

Soweto res­i­dents are up in arms, ac­cus­ing Eskom of fail­ing to up­hold the rec­om­men­da­tions made by the par­lia­men­tary com­mit­tee on pub­lic en­ter­prises on pre­paid elec­tric­ity boxes.

This came af­ter a com­mu­nity meet­ing in March, in which the power util­ity was lam­basted for not con­sult­ing res­i­dents on plans to roll out pre­paid elec­tric­ity me­ters in the town­ship.

Diep­kloof and Or­lando res­i­dents had lodged a pe­ti­tion, call­ing on the Na­tional Assem­bly to pre­vent the power util­ity from pro­ceed­ing with the in­stal­la­tion of pre­paid elec­tric­ity boxes.

In their in­terim re­port on the mat­ter, the port­fo­lio com­mit­tee rec­om­mended that Eskom de­velop a com­mu­ni­ca­tion and con­sul­ta­tion strat­egy and should re­visit com­mu­ni­ties to clar­ify the in­tent of the pre­paid me­ters, and the ad­van­tages and dis­ad­van­tages of pre­paid elec­tric­ity.

Paul Miya, a com­mu­nity leader in Mead­ow­lands, said even though the meet­ing did not in­clude their area, they faced sim­i­lar chal­lenges in which me­ter boxes were be­ing in­stalled with­out the com­mu­ni­ties’ in­put.

“Our coun­cil­lor was meant to have held a meet­ing with us about the in­stal­la­tion of th­ese boxes, to ex­plain what we will be get­ting our­selves into.

“He came here with an Eskom rep­re­sen­ta­tive, but they did not ex­plain prop­erly,” Miya said.

Res­i­den ts in Kag­iso, Mo­gale City, were also irate af­ter be­ing

‘ ‘ They cut our power and tell us to pick up me­ter boxes

sub­jected to out­ages and ap­par­ently be­ing told to col­lect pre­paid boxes at Eskom of­fices for re­con­nec­tions to take place.

Tsholo Mathi­bela said they were be­ing held hostage and ac­cused the util­ity of co­erc­ing res­i­dents to mount boxes in their homes.

“Eskom cuts off our elec­tric­ity and then tell us we need to come and pick up pre­paid me­ter boxes from their of­fices for them to re­con­nect our sup­ply.

“We don’t even know how the process works and what sort of im­pact it is go­ing to have on us,” she said.

The util­ity’s spokesman Khulu Phasiwa re­futed the claims, say­ing Eskom en­gages com­mu­ni­ties and keeps them in­formed.

“We do this by util­is­ing chan­nels such as com­mu­nity meet­ings, posters sent to cus­tomers, me­dia, coun­cil­lors’ lek­gotla, cus­tomer ed­u­ca­tion through door-to-door cam­paigns, in­ter­est groups and se­nior cit­i­zens’ fo­rums,” he said.

/ KABELO MOKOENA

Or­lando res­i­dents say Eskom is not up­hold­ing rec­om­men­da­tions made by the par­lia­men­tary com­mit­tee on pub­lic en­ter­prises.

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