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Five NC municipalities face a cold, dark winter

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Eskom announced on Thursday that the electricity supply services to the local authorities would be discontinued soon, after they failed to meet their payment obligations to the power utility.

File image. Picture: Ayanda Ndamane/African News Agency (ANA)

FIVE municipalities in the Northern Cape face a cold, dark winter after Eskom announced on Thursday that the electricity supply services to the local authorities would be discontinued soon, after they failed to meet their payment obligations to the power utility.

The five municipalities, which together owe more than R272 million, are Tsantsabane, Magareng, Kamiesberg, Richtersveld and Khâi-Ma local municipalities.

According to Eskom spokesperson Stefanie Jansen van Rensburg, the decision was taken to cut the supply after the municipalities breached their payment conditions concluded with Eskom.

“A 14-days’ notice of Eskom’s intention to discontinue supply has been issued to these municipalities, indicating that Eskom will discontinue bulk supply of electricity on July 8, 2020. Since then, no progress has been made, leaving Eskom no other option than to continue with the implementation of these measures.”

The electricity to these municipalities will be cut from Monday to Sunday from 6am to 8pm with effect from July 8 and will continue until the breach is remedied.

“Eskom recognises that the indefinite disconnection of electricity supply may cause undue hardship to consumers and members of the community, and may adversely affect the delivery of other services. In view of this, Eskom will implement a regulated interruption of electricity supply as opposed to an outright disconnection. The regulated interruption will allow members of the community and consumers the opportunity to make alternative arrangements for the scheduled periods of interruption.”

Jansen van Rensburg added that notwithstanding the above proposed indicative times for the discontinuation of supply, Eskom may, upon seven calendar days’ notice, serve the notice to terminate electricity supply services entirely and indefinitely should the municipalities’ debt situation not improve.

“Eskom advises all parties who are likely to be materially and adversely affected by the withholding of electricity supply services to take all necessary precautions to ensure safety of lives and to limit damages to their equipment, operations and business.”

According to Jansen van Rens-burg, Kamiesberg Municipality, which includes Garies, Hondeklip Bay, Leliefontein, Kroonsig, Kheis and Spoegrivier, owes R23 million; Khâi-Ma Municipality, which includes Aggeneys and Pofadder, owes R21 million; Richtersveld Municipality, which includes Port Nolloth, owes R11 million; Tsantsabane Municipality, which includes Postmasburg, owes
R153 million; and Magareng Municipality, which includes Warrenton, owes R65 million.

The amounts have been outstanding and escalating since February in the case of Richtersveld, March in the case of Kamiesberg, and April in the cases of Khâi-Ma, Tsantsabane and Magareng.