Threats Of Eskom Power Cuts, Again

If an agreement is not reached between the power utility and Thaba Chweu Local Municipality (TCLM) the interruption will come into effect on January 11, 2021.
TCLM currently owes Eskom R13 553 606. No payment has been made regarding the account since August 2019. In effect it means none of the money consumers have paid the municipality has reached Eskom.
The power utility published these facts in a public notice earlier this week, resulting in panic and more questions from consumers. Eskom said that non-payment jeopardises its ability to supply Duma with power.
The substation feeds the Rooidraai area, including a small part of the central business district, the hospital area, half of Mashishing and Kellysville.
Eskom has threatened total disruption in the past. But this time it is looking at alternate power interruption.
This will adversely affect the community and businesses. Social media groups were abuzz on Tuesday morning when the news broke with comments like “what are businesses suppose to do? We are already paying astronomical levies before we are even allowed to buy electricity”.
Another popular comment was “Thaba Chweu must fall”. Eskom has reached an agreement with TCLM about the R830 million that the municipality owes it. But no agreement has been put in place for Duma, as it is a separate issue.
An agreement was reached between China Sinogy Electric Engineering Co (CSEEC) and TCLM to start paying for the operational costs of Duma, but a repayment plan has not been put in place.
“About 90 per cent of the Rooidraai consumers use prepaid. Where is that money going? As the DA we have sent several letters asking these important questions,” said Spiros Couvaras, DA ward councillor.
In a council meeting on October 29, recent financial records showed there is a R12-million deficit between the Eskom account and what was billed.
The TCLM account for the three months between July and October was R71 million. Accounts were sent out to consumers to the value of R58 million and the revenue collected was R51 million. But, the municipality only paid Eskom R39 million.
That is the deficit of R12 million. It is the result of the non-payment of informal settlements, Coromandel, Leroro, Matibidi, Simele and the Chinese Village in Graskop that are supplied free electricity.
For instance, Coromandel received new prepaid meters four years ago and the residents removed them. However, they are still receiving electricity for free. The deficit in the system is only 26 per cent, not the R12 million that Thaba Chweu claims are losses.
The DA still feels that the maladministration and the non-payment of the funds of these major accounts are an example of TCLM’s incapability to govern the municipality as per the regulations stipulated.
“TCLM should make an effort to rectify the situation. It is unfair for us as paying citizens to be penalised for their maladministration,” Couvaras concluded.
If no agreement can be reached, the power utility will stop supply to Duma from January 11 to 17 (week 1), Monday to Friday from 06:00 to 09:00 and 17:00 to 20:30, and Saturday and Sunday from 08:30 to 12:00 and 15:00 to 19:00.
In the second week Eskom will cut the power Monday to Friday from 06:00 to 20: 00, and Saturday to Sunday from 06:00 to 20:00.
It has invited residents to tell it why it should not interrupt the power supply. The closing date for public submissions and/or requests is December 4.
These can be made to the senior manager, customer services PO Box 579, Mbombela 1200, or email Eskom will publish its final decision on this matter in the week of December 18.