Eskom blasts City of Tshwane over R878 million bill — threatens “appropriate measures”

Eskom has blasted the City of Tshwane (CoT) over its failure to settle an electricity bill of R878 million.

According to a statement from the utility on Monday afternoon, the city had a total outstanding debt to Eskom of R908 million, which was payable on 17 June 2022.

But in the past two weeks, it had only made two payments of R10 million and R20 million, respectively.

Eskom said out of the eight metropolitan municipalities in the country, CoT was the only one with “erratic” payments.

The utility explained the city’s payment habits over the past year had contributed negatively to Eskom’s surging overdue municipal debt, which was in excess of R46.6 billion.

It also impacts Eskom’s liquidity, financial performance and sustainability, forcing it to borrow to meet its financial commitments.

“As part of the efforts to recover the debt, Eskom has previously escalated the matter of the City’s erratic payments to the Tshwane executive mayor, Randall Williams, in a meeting held with him and his leadership team in January 2022,” Eskom said.

“The matter was again escalated to the executive mayor now in June, requesting him to assist in ensuring that the City settles the account by 30 June 2022.”

Randall Williams, executive mayor of Tshwane and member of the Democratic Alliance

Eskom senior manager for customer services in Gauteng, Daphne Mokwena, said the utility was obliged to operate its business sustainably and would consequently “take all the appropriate measures” to recover money owed to it.

“We remain hopeful that the City will review its current position regarding the appeals made to them by Eskom and honour their payments”, said  Mokwena.

CoT has previously complained about an outstanding debt of R17 billion for water, electricity, and property taxes owed by its residents and businesses.

It embarked on a much-publicised water and power cutting campaign wherein technicians physically switched off these services to several business and government buildings.

“Residential customers owe the city around R8 billion, businesses [owe] R4 billion and government departments and embassies owe R1.3 billion. The city is now on a campaign to disconnect services to all the defaulters,” Williams said at the time.

“We are obligated in terms of municipal legislation to recover money due to the city. It’s not something we can do voluntarily; we’ve got an obligation to do it.”

Among the biggest debts owed as of February 2022 were R245 million by the national Department of Infrastructure Development and R110 million by the Department of Public Works.

Now read: Eskom’s problems even worse than they look

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Eskom blasts City of Tshwane over R878 million bill — threatens “appropriate measures”