BNLM towns fe­ar blackouts

Oudtshoorn Courant - - NEWS - HEINRICH GROOTBOOM

A no­ti­ce by E­s­kom pu­blis­hed at the end of last month left re­si­dents of Wil­low­mo­re, S­teyt­ler­vil­le and Ja­sen­vil­le within the Dr Bey­ers Nau­dé Lo­cal Mu­ni­ci­pa­li­ty (BNLM) con­cer­ned and fe­ar­ful of rol­ling blackouts.

E­s­kom has sin­ce sus­pen­ded their plans of sus­pen­ding e­lec­tri­ci­ty, but it re­mains un­cle­ar w­hat agreement has been re­a­ched be­t­ween them and the BNLM.

The thre­at of blackouts

A sta­te­ment by E­s­kom, pu­blis­hed on 28 Au­gust, re­ad that “the bulk sup­ply of e­lec­tri­ci­ty to Wil­low­mo­re, S­teyt­ler­vil­le and Ja­sen­vil­le will be in­ter­rup­ted”.

Ac­cor­ding to a Mem­ber of Par­li­a­ment, Sa­man­tha Graham-Maré, in­ter­rup­ti­on to the sup­ply of e­lec­tri­ci­ty to the­se a­re­as would ha­ve de­va­sta­ting re­sults. “The­se po­wer cuts will ha­ve a dras­tic im­pact on ser­vi­ce de­li­very. Wa­ter to all three towns is sup­p­lied from bo­re­ho­les, which re­ly on e­lec­tri­cal pumps. Se­wera­ge will al­so be im­pacted as the pumps u­ti­li­sed for the­se are e­lec­tri­cal,” she said.

Graham-Maré ad­ded that she wro­te to both the Eas­tern Ca­pe MEC and the Mi­nis­ter of Coope­ra­ti­ve Go­ver­nan­ce and

Tra­di­ti­o­nal Af­fairs, to re­quest their ur­gent in­ter­ven­ti­on to pre­vent the in­ter­rup­ti­ons, which we­re i­ni­ti­al­ly sche­du­led for 11 Sep­tem­ber.

Graham-Maré al­so as­ked that they at­tempt to find a way of de­a­ling with the his­to­ri­cal debt that the BNLM in­her­i­ted at the ti­me of the a­mal­ga­ma­ti­on.

Claims ha­ve al­so been ma­de a­gainst the BNLM that the mo­ney paid by re­si­dents of the af­fected towns to the mu­ni­ci­pa­li­ty for e­lec­tri­ci­ty usa­ge is being u­sed to sett­le ot­her ac­counts, and not pay to E­s­kom or ser­vi­ce the his­to­ri­cal debt.

Agreement re­a­ched with E­s­kom

In re­spon­se to this no­ti­ce by E­s­kom, the BNLM re­le­a­sed a sta­te­ment on F­ri­day to as­su­re re­si­dents and bu­si­nes­ses a­li­ke that, af­ter con­sul­ta­ti­on with E­s­kom, misun­der­stan­dings ha­ve been re­sol­ved and an agreement has been re­a­ched. E­s­kom has the­re­fo­re sus­pen­ded plans to dis­con­ti­nue bulk e­lec­tri­ci­ty sup­ply within the BNLM.

It is un­cle­ar w­hat agreement was re­a­ched with E­s­kom by the mu­ni­ci­pa­li­ty. U­pon in­qui­ry, the Ad­ver­ti­ser was re­fer­red to the mu­ni­ci­pa­li­ty’s o­ri­gi­nal sta­te­ment on the mat­ter, which does not spe­ci­fy the ar­ran­ge­ment.

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