Matlosana Arrears Threaten Power Supply

Pretoria - Eskom will not go ahead with the disconnection of the bulk electricity supply to the City of Matlosana Local Municipality in the North West province, said the power parastatal on Wednesday.

In a statement, the utility said the municipality had made significant part-payments on the arrear debt which it owed to Eskom over the past 24 hours and has reached a payment agreement to settle the balance of the arrear debt.

Eskom has now agreed not to go ahead with the disconnection which it warned of in the notice published on 7 February 2013. At the time, the municipality was in arrears to the tune of R91.8 million, some of which had been outstanding for more than 90 days.

The municipality, which includes the towns of Klerksdorp and Jouberton, affirmed its commitment to honouring the remaining terms and conditions as set out in its payment agreement with Eskom, said the utility.

Eskom expressed its concern at the rapid growth in municipal arrear debt, which stood at R1.3 billion in February 2013. It also urged defaulting municipalities to honour their commitment to pay for the electricity they use.

The power utility added that disconnection was a last resort when payment agreements have not been honoured. Eskom complies with the provisions of the Promotion of Administrative Justice Act, which requires it to publish notices and give affected customers a chance to make submissions before it can resort to disconnecting supply.

The Matjhabeng Local Municipality in the Free State province was also issued with a notice of disconnection, alerting the municipality to inform its customers that electricity supply to the municipality will be disconnected on 10 April 2013 if it does not settle its outstanding account by 31 March 2013.

"Matjhabeng includes several towns, the largest of which is Welkom, and has R145 million in arrear debt to Eskom. The public are invited to make submissions by 10am on Thursday, 28 March 2013.

"Approximately 40% of Eskom's total sales go to municipalities, which Eskom supplies in bulk, while they in turn supply electricity to households and businesses in their areas of supply," said Eskom.