Eskom wants debt paid up
MUNICIPALITIES in the Free State reportedly owe the biggest debt to the national power supplier, Eskom.
With a staggering overall debt of R6bn, municipalities have a tall order ahead of them to keep the lights on and ensure that the debt is reduced.
The Free State is followed by Mpumalanga and North West with R3bn and R1bn debt respectively.
The Tokologo local municipality escaped electricity interruptions on Friday after reaching an agreement with Eskom.
However, the Masilonyana local municipality was reportedly also under threat from Eskom due to its debt.
Eight municipalities in the Free State are still faced with debt and include Tokologo, Masilonyana, Matjhabeng, Maluti-APhofung, Nketoana, Nala, Dihlabeng and Mantsopa.
Speaking to The New Age recently, Eskom national spokesperson Khulu Phasiwe said the multiple bulk supply interruptions were the last resort in terms of Eskom getting its money and as a result municipalities were now coming forward to make payment or arrangements.
“And this is exactly what we wanted,” Phasiwe said.
He said the three provinces with the most Tokologo – R36m Masilonyana – R48m Matjhabeng – R1.7bn Maluti-a-Phofung – R2.6bn Nketoana – R163m Nala – R184m Dihlabeng – R181m Mantsopa – R111m debt owed to Eskom needed to bear in mind that the power utility needed the revenue.
“We need to pay mines that produce coal. Consequently if we are not getting money to pay for coal and other things we need to pay money on that clearly means Eskom could grind to a halt,” he said.
Phasiwe said Eskom was in Parliament last week to seek assistance from the government and Parliament in particular in terms of resolving the impasse between municipalities and the power utility.
With regard to the bulk supply interruptions, Eskom has sent notices to the media and municipalities advising members of the different communities and consumers to make alternative arrangements for the scheduled periods of interruption.