Eskom intervenes in Maluti-A-Phofung municipality energy debt woes

Eskom has confirmed that it’s working with the embattled Maluti-A-Phofung municipality in Qwaqwa in the Free State.

The municipality’s current debt is standing at R6.5 billion. Senior Manager for Customer Service in Free State, Bibi Bedir says in an attempt to recover the money, the municipality and Eskom have agreed to enter into an active arrangement.

Bedir says the arrangement entails the appointment of Eskom as the service provider in the municipal area of supply.

“Eskom will do a full network maintenance and operation function as well as revenue recovery. We are currently in the process to assist the municipality with public participation and stakeholder engagements. We are hopeful and anticipate that the distribution agency agreement will be signed by the end of August for implementation.”

Business people in Maluti-A-Phofung say the current electricity challenges have ripple effects on consumers as they have to pay more.

“Usually we can say as a business we are not distracted but the clients are the persons that carry the distraction of the electricity, because if ever, we hike our rates it means they are going to suffer for the consequences of electricity, yes.”

Meanwhile, the municipality says it has become difficult to ensure that all substations were secured and that revenue was collected from businesses and residents.

Executive Mayor Gilbert Mokotso says they hope the move will reduce power disruptions in the municipality. “But we are going to do an active partnership with Eskom, currently we are doing public participation with the community whereby then Eskom will start servicing electricity of Maluti-a-Phofung starting from the end of August. Because we want Eskom to take all the operations of electricity at the municipality. Our staff are going to be seconded to Eskom and Eskom will assist us in training other staff of us. After sometime maybe then some years is then that they will return back to the municipality when the electricity is stable at Maluti-A-Phofung.”

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Source: SABC News (