Friday, 22 April 2022: Eskom Free State and Maluti-A-Phofung (MAP) Municipality leadership had a breakthrough in their longstanding impasse on smooth electricity delivery in the area, when they met today in New Germany, Durban.
The parties met after a week-long power outage in QwaQwa area. The outage occurred when the power tripped on 15 April 2022 due to overloaded networks.
When MAP substations trip, it leads to Eskom breakers tripping due to lack of protection on the MAP infrastructure. In order to assist with this, Eskom has committed to install Protection equipment on the MAP substations so that they are able to isolate faults and do repairs without affecting Eskom infrastructure. The project will start as soon as MAP pays for the project costs, which are estimated to be R5.1m.
The other decisions taken are as follows:
- MAP will switch off all its substations so that Eskom can switch back power without the risk of tripping. MAP will then manage how to bring back power to its customers supply dependent on the risk posed by overloading.
- Eskom will change MAP’s billing date to the 28th of each month to assist MAP in meeting its current bill payment.
- MAP will pay its current account for the next 6 months and thereafter engage Eskom on the payment of their arrear debt. This will allow the leadership to do maintenance and other initiatives to ensure reliable electricity supply. MaP will soonest reopen the active partnering discussions.
- MAP will pay Eskom R20m of its current account on Monday 25 April 2022 and the balance on the 28th of April 2022.
The MAP delegation was led by the Executive Mayor, Cllr Gilbert Mokotso, who stated that the new municipal leadership acknowledged that it owed Eskom and was committed to servicing its current electricity account and had the political will to find mechanisms to reduce its debt and ensure that Eskom got paid for its services.
It took back and forth discussions between the parties, before the Eskom General Manager, Agnes Mlambo conceded that there was indeed commitment from the MAP leadership to find a solution for reliable electricity supply in the area. “I appreciate the Mayor and his leadership’s commitment. When there is a level of commitment, even if plans don’t go as planned, one will still understand. We will get solutions, but can only do so if we work together,” she concluded.
Eskom urges communities to use electricity sparingly and to report incidents of theft, and illegal connections to ensure reliable electricity supply.