BNLM towns fear blackouts
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.