Eskom is once again set to cut electricity to four defaulting municipalities in the Northern Cape.

Stefanie Jansen Van Rensburg, Eskom spokesperson on Wednesday said that the four municipalities had been served notices of Eskom’s intention to restrict bulk electricity supply, commencing on October 7 2020.

She said “This is a consequence of the municipalities’ failure to pay for the service, thereby breaching their electricity supply agreements with Eskom. The measure is also intended to reduce the escalation of the municipalities’ debt to Eskom”.

The four defaulting municipalities are Tsantsabane Local Municipality, which owes the power utility R154.9 million, Emthanjeni Local Municipality, which owes R90.5 million, Kamiesberg Local Municipality which owes R21.7 million and Richtersveld Local Municipality, which owes R12. 8 million.

“Eskom recognises that the indefinite disconnection of electricity supply may cause undue hardship to consumers and members of the community, and may adversely affect the delivery of other services. In view of this, and in order to minimise any hardship to consumers and members of the community, Eskom will restrict electricity supply in a regulated pattern as opposed to an outright disconnection. This will allow members of the community and consumers the opportunity to make alternative arrangements for the scheduled periods.”

As a result of the municipalities’ non-payment of overdue debt, the affected districts will experience daily scheduled interruptions between 6am to 8pm starting on October 7 2020.

The towns affected in the various municipalities inlcude Tsantsabane Local Municipality (Postmasburg), Emthanjeni Local Municipality (De Aar, Britstown, Hanover), Kamiesberg Local Municipality (Garies, Kamieskroon, Kroonsig, Klipfontein, Kheis, Nourivier, Spoegrivier, Paulshoek) and Richtersveld Local Municipality (Port Nolloth).

Jansen van Rensburg stated that “These interruptions will persist until the municipalities have rectified the breach”.

She added that the municipalities’ breach of their payment obligation to Eskom undermined and placed Eskom’s ability to supply electricity nationally on a financially sustainable basis in jeopardy.

“In terms of both the provisions of the Electricity Regulation Act 4 of 2006 and the Electricity Supply Agreement between Eskom and the municipality, Eskom is entitled to withhold electricity supply services to any municipality on account of non-payment of the electricity debt.”

“Eskom advises all consumers who will be adversely affected by the withholding of electricity supply services to take all necessary precautions and to treat all electrical equipment as if it was live in order to limit damages to their equipment, operations and business.”