JOHANNESBURG, October 26 – The Gauteng provincial government on Thursday said it had intervened to stop Eskom from cutting electricity services to defaulting Merafong Local Municipality.
In August Eskom said Merafong owed R122,288,573 in unpaid bills for bulk supplies of electricity. At the time the power utility threatened to cut off supplies to the municipality.
However, on Thursday the Gauteng Finance MEC Barbara Creecy said: “Eskom will no longer cut electricity supply to Merafong Local Municipality, following a successful intervention by the Gauteng Provincial Government which led to the development of a payment plan for outstanding debt”.
Merafong is the second municipality in the past two months to avoid power cuts as a result of the Gauteng provincial government’s intervention. The other municipality is Emfuleni.
“We received a letter from Eskom confirming that it will no longer cut electricity supply to Merafong. We are happy with this development. We don’t want power cuts in our municipalities because they have a negative impact on residents and businesses,” Creecy said.
Eskom had planned to stop bulk supplies of electricity to Merafong on 25 October 2017.
In terms of the payment plan, Merafong has agreed to pay R173 million in outstanding debt over a period of 36 months. The municipality has also agreed to pay the current account of R16 million in full by the end of the month and service all future monthly current accounts timeously.
“We will now focused on working with Merafong and other municipalities to ensure that the payment plans for outstanding debts are honoured,” Creecy said.
– African News Agency (ANA)