Mbombela responds to Eskom threat

MBOMBELA – The City of Mbombela Local Municipality claims that the planned interruption of bulk electricity supply will not take place as of January 23.

According to spokesman Mr Joseph Ngala, “The municipality would like to inform all consumers not to worry about the notice as the interruption will not take place.

“By the time of going to print by most media houses, the municipality had already made payment arrangements with Eskom. Our apologies for the unnecessary alarm,” he wrote on his Facebook page.

He could not be reached for further comment.

Mr Eric Khoza, spokesman for Eskom, did not confirm a new agreement.

final notice eskom electricity

The notice as published in Mpumalanga News on Thursday.

Blackout looms for Mbombela, January 13 at 09:20

Eskom intends to start cutting electricity to the municipality from January 23.

The power utility issued a notice of intent to that effect in November. At the time, the City of Mbombela Local Municipality claimed it had entered into a repayment agreement to settle its R113,5 million debt by December 2. It is unclear how much the municipality owes at the moment.

According to the Final Decision Notice published this week, power will be cut from next Monday, January 23.

The Nelsriver, Delta, Mbombela Stadium and White River areas will be affected from 06:00 to 08:00 and 17:00 to 19:30 on weekdays, and 08:30 to 11:00 and 15:00 to on 17:30 over weekends. Mr Eric Khoza, spokesman for Eskom, confirmed the notice and added that the proposed times are temporary, and the interruption of electricity supply could increase.

“Eskom may, upon 15 calendar days’ notice, disconnect the electricity entirely and indefinitely, should the electricity debt situation not improve,” it read.

Spokesman for the municipality, Mr Joseph Ngala said he was surprised that Eskom decided to issue the notice as he was under the impression that the municipality was honouring its repayment deal.

Ms Linda Grimbeek of Kruger Lowveld Chamber of Business and Tourism (KLCBT), said people who are paying their accounts are typically from the four areas affected.

“This will be devastating for business and traffic and we will not allow it to happen,” she said.

“Should Eskom execute this bulk power interruption, the impact on business and tourism will be devastating, not to mention the traffic congestion and accidents that will result during peak hours when electricity will be off.

Grimbeek said the KLCBT has been in close communication with the municipality and Eskom since the end of November to monitor the situation.

On Thursday morning they were informed that R100 million was paid to Eskom during early December, against the R113 million in arrears at the time.

Only R13 million was still outstanding from the arrangement. Another month passed and the total amount in arrears is currently R70 million.

“Mbombela has asked for an extension to pay the outstanding amount, based on the fact that very little, if any, credit control is done during the holiday season and they need time to recover their cash flow.”

  AUTHOR
Philippa Francis
Journalist

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