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Sol seeks alternative energy to mitigate high power tariffs

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The Sol Plaatje Municipality has committed to procure 100 megawatts of alternative energy to mitigate the high electricity tariffs. Picture: Soraya Crowie

The municipality has also urged city residents to keep their accounts up to date or alternatively enter into payment agreements to avert power cuts.

SOL PLAATJE Municipality has committed to urgently procuring 100 megawatts of alternative energy to mitigate the high electricity tariffs.

In its reply to a memorandum that was handed over by the United Community of Sol Plaatje Municipality on August 4, relating to demands to permit residents and local businesses to purchase electricity directly from Eskom, the municipality acknowledged that the electricity tariffs have risen above the inflation rate, where it has become unaffordable for average income earners.

The local authority stated that it would undertake a formal procurement process to source service providers for the installation of alternative energy sources of up to 100 megawatts.

“This will assist the municipality to either suspend increments in the electricity costs for the next few years or reduce the cost per the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (Nersa) guidelines that are released annually.

“The full details of the procurement will be communicated by the end of August after all preparatory work has been concluded.”

It pointed out that the municipality was dependent on revenue collected from services provided to local communities to not only maintain the city’s infrastructure but to also pay for the bulk services received from various service providers such as Eskom and the Water Board.

“Failure by Sol Plaatje to meet these obligations will result in the supply to the whole municipality being cut off. In order to mitigate this, it is imperative that the municipality raises the necessary funds to meet these obligations through the collection of revenue, rates and taxes.”

It urged the public to keep their accounts up to date or alternatively enter into payment agreements to avert power cuts.

“The municipality has followed all due processes in the adoption of the 2021 budget in line with the legislation and regulations.”

The memorandum was signed by Sol Plaatje executive mayor Patrick Mabilo and the acting municipal manager, Boy Dhlwayo.

Boyce Makodi from the United Community of Sol Plaatje Municipality has meanwhile encouraged residents to stand firm in the call to be migrated to Eskom until a solid plan was outlined by the municipality to alleviate the financial burden of residents and other stakeholders.

“While the municipality requested us to assist them in asking residents to pay their accounts as non-payment of accounts is crippling the municipality, it should be noted that it is difficult to convince residents to pay their accounts when they are forced to wake up to the smell of raw sewage every day,” said Makodi.

“Vehicles are damaged on a daily basis due to potholes. The current economic climate makes it near impossible for residents to pay their accounts.”

Makodi added that they expected the municipality to reduce the cost of electricity immediately and not in the next financial year.

“Residents are suffering now and the government should play it’s part now to ensure that we are assisted in this time of need.”

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