Feather in Eskom’s cap

The Star Early Edition - - OPINION & ANALYSIS -

ESKOM has to be lauded for tak­ing a stand against mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties ow­ing mil­lions in un­paid elec­tric­ity bills. The power util­ity yes­ter­day im­ple­mented sched­uled power cuts in mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties in the North­ern Cape, East­ern Cape, Free State, North West and Mpumalanga pend­ing un­der­tak­ings by these mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties to pro­vide pay­ment plans.

This has un­doubt­edly left a sour taste in the mouths of those good cit­i­zens who have been loy­ally pay­ing their mu­nic­i­pal bills. They have been short-changed, and while we em­pathise with them, we be­lieve Eskom is mov­ing in the right di­rec­tion to­wards re­solv­ing the power cri­sis.

Soon we will be mov­ing to­wards win­ter, when most peo­ple will be plug­ging in their heaters and all man­ner of ap­pli­ances to ward off the cold, and this, as usual, will put a strain on the grid.

The decades-long fail­ure by Eskom to prop­erly plan, man­age and en­sure that the grow­ing econ­omy does not bur­den the grid is mainly to blame for the power cri­sis, but South Africans also need to take re­spon­si­bil­ity at some point.

Why should the rest of the coun­try suf­fer due to a few mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties fail­ing to keep their rev­enue col­lec­tion de­part­ments in check?

The mil­lions owed to Eskom will in no way re­solve the fi­nan­cial is­sues Eskom is grap­pling with, but it will go a long way to­wards en­sur­ing that the power util­ity keeps the lights on.

The only con­cern, though, is what is to be­come of those hooked up to life-sav­ing ma­chines should hos­pi­tals not have backup plans in the form of gen­er­a­tors.

Busi­nesses are also bound to be af­fected by this, and so will farm­ing ar­eas, es­pe­cially in the de­fault­ing North West mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties.

Some mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties had al­ready made com­mit­ments by late yes­ter­day, while oth­ers were yet to in­di­cate if they’ve got any plans in place to avoid the black­outs.

What­ever hap­pens, we hope hos­pi­tals have mea­sures in place, and that busi­nesses on which many rely on for salaries won’t be heav­ily af­fected.

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