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Eskom cut power supply to defaulting Northern Cape municipalities

Eskom have once again cracked the whip on municipalities who fail to make good on their debt obligations to the embattled power supplier, and announced on Tuesday 6 October that they will be plunging four Northern Cape municipalities into darkness on Wednesday. 

They said that they don’t take the decision lightly, but in light of the fact that the municipalities have defaulted on their payments for a prolonged period of time, and after having exhausted all other legal avenues, say they are left with no choice. 

Which municipalities are affected?  

In a statement

on Tuesday, Eskom said that the following municipalities will experience 12-hour power outages starting from 6:00 on Wednesday 7 October: 

  • Tsantsabane;
  • Emthanjeni;
  • Kamiesberg; and 
  • Richtersveld

The areas affected by these blackouts include: 

  • Postmasburg;
  • De Aar; 
  • Britstown and Hanover; 
  • Garies;
  • Kamieskroon; 
  • Kroonsig;
  • Klipfontein;
  • Kheis;
  • Lepelsfontein; 
  • Nourivier; 
  • Spoegrivier and Paulshoek; and 
  • Port Niollith.

The municipalities collectively owe an outstanding debt amounting to R279 612 254, and the shutdown of services will “continue until the municipalities have rectified the breach”.

“Eskom is entitled to withhold electricity supply services to any municipality on account of non-payment of the electricity debt,” Eskom said. 

“The generation, transmission and distribution of electricity is done at a cost and Eskom cannot supply electricity on a sustainable manner if it is not paid for its product service.” 

“As a responsible entity, and in national interest, Eskom is obliged to limit its own financial losses,” they said. “Just as consumers have an obligation to pay municipalities for services rendered, municipalities are under an obligation to pay Eskom.”

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Eskom wary of impact on residents  

Eskom said that they are wary of the impact this mismanagement and subsequent consequence has on innocent residents, and said that the decision was not taken lightly. 

“The restriction of electricity supply is always a measure of last resort and is only implemented once all other legal avenues to collect revenue rightfully owed to Eskom have been exhausted,” they said. “Eskom is wary of the impact these interruptions have on the affected communities and does not take the decision lightly.”

Eskom advised consumers who will be adversely affected by the withholding of electricity supply services to take all necessary precautions and treat all appliances as live in order to prevent injuries and limit damages to their equipment, operations and business. 

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