Eskom to disconnect three FS municipalites at noon

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SABRINA DEAN – Power supplier Eskom says it cannot afford to keep carrying the costs of defaulting municipalities as this has potential negative impacts on power supply for the entire country.

Eskom is expected to disconnect power to three Free State Municipalities, namely Ngwathe, Dihlabeng and Maluti-a-Phofung, at noon today because they failed to submit suitable repayment plans for their collective R736-million debt. Spokesperson Tony Stott says Eskom has no choice but to go ahead with the disconnections.

"Eskom has been involved in discussions with the municipalities starting in May this year, the finance member of the executive of the Free State provincial government met with us in July.

"We suspended the disconnection notices given in May… but the three municipalities have not provided satisfactory plans," he says.

Stott says in addition to the arrears, the municipalities have only been making partial payments on current accounts, which is compounding the overall debt problem. He says power will be restored if and when affected municipalities submit acceptable payment plans for arrears, as well as plans to keep up with current account payments.

He apologized to municipal residents who may well have been paying their municipal accounts, saying Eskom cannot sustain non-payment by the municipalities.