Eskom’s threat to cut off 20 municipalities with arrears debt has clearly worked, after it announced on Friday that only three municipalities had not settled their debt.
This will be good news for the cash-strapped power utility, which is battling a delayed building programme and country-wide load shedding.
“The three face the risk of power interruptions on June 5,” Eskom tweeted, without giving their names.
Eskom spokespeople did not return calls on Friday to explain further.
Eskom said that on March 31, the total municipal arrears debt greater than 30 days was R4.6bn.
By April 29, Eskom had reached agreements with 50% of the defaulting regions.
Eskom tweeted on Friday that “all but three of the top 20 defaulting municipalities have settled their debt with Eskom.
“Some of the defaulting municipalities have paid part of their debt to Eskom and made arrangements to settle the balance going forward,” Eskom tweeted.
Warning to defaulters
“The bulk electricity supplies of municipalities that have entered into a payment agreement with Eskom will not be interrupted,” Eskom said on April 29.
“However, municipalities have to comply consistently with payment agreement terms on a monthly basis. If these conditions are not met, interruptions of supply will be implemented without further notice,” it said.
For the three outstanding municipalities, Eskom said it was “contemplating” a regulated interruption of electricity on Monday to Friday from 06:00 to 10:00 and 17:00 to 21:00, and on Saturday and Sunday from 07:00 to 10:00 and 17:00 to 20:00.
Just a hoax
These times were recently shared on Whatsapp with a warning that they were Eskom’s new winter planned load shedding system for the whole country. “The message spreading … is not true,” Eskom tweeted on Thursday.
Acting Eskom CEO Brian Molefe said on Friday that Eskom was gearing up to have no planned load shedding from June 1.
Speaking at the launch of the Transnet Development Hub on Friday, Molefe said planned maintenance was mostly completed and so the utility was able to generate more power to meet the increased demand.
“[There will be] no planned load shedding this winter,” he said, according to an Eskom tweet.
“Limited maintenance will be done during this period as most work was done in summer,” he said.