If you live in Soweto you will have electricity – no matter what…
Eskom says it will cut off its electricity supply to municipalities if they default on payments but Soweto is safe. Now observers say Eskom’s treatment of smaller municipalities is unfair if you take into consideration how it treats Soweto.
South African Local Government Association official Nhlanhla Ngidi told the Sunday Times this weekend that Eskom is getting it all wrong. MyBroadband.co.za writes the Association’s objection comes amidst a dispute between municipalities and Eskom over an electricity supply agreement it predicts would generate billions in revenue for local councils.
Eskom refuses to sign the agreement that would see it stop supplying electricity directly, and instead become a service provider to municipalities.
According to the report, Eskom supplies 47% of consumers directly – while the remainder get their electricity bill from municipalities.
The Association has complained about Eskom’s treatment of smaller municipalities, many of which were threatened with disconnection over the R10 billion they owed the utility, said Ngidi. He says Soweto owes Eskom R6 billion, but the area is yet to receive threats of interruption to its residents’ electricity supply.
In January it became clear that municipalities continued to default on payments despite a number of government interventions in 2016. The Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) department said it brokered agreements with Eskom and plans were put in place to get the municipalities to repay their debt.
Cogta held talks with all the affected municipalities between February and April last year and payment agreements were reached. Despite this, the municipalities continued to default.