Feather in Eskom’s cap
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.