Eskom must stop potential electricity blackouts – Herman Mashaba

Joburg Mayor says SOE has resolved not to maintain or repair infrastructure in areas of non-payment

Eskom Must Stop Potential Electricity Blackouts in communities

11 July 2019

Yesterday, I wrote to Eskom requesting a meeting within the next 48 hours in reaction to Eskom’s alleged institution of credit management procedures across entire communities due to certain residents’ failure to pay their electricity accounts.

This follows several complaints to my office, by some residents of Soweto.

It is also alleged that Eskom has resolved not to maintain or repair their own infrastructure in areas where there are high levels of non-payment of Eskom accounts.

While the City of Joburg would not normally seek to interfere in or instruct Eskom on how to conduct its affairs, I feel compelled to enter the fray and intervene on behalf of paying residents who face unfair punishment at the hands of Eskom due the actions of a few residents.

Should the allegations against Eskom prove to be true, it would amount to a blanket punishment, and taken to their logical conclusion, are a violation of residents’ rights as well as a gross abuse of power.

In the face of the massive corruption which has crippled the energy regulator and the substantial tariff increases already provided to the power utility, which has only served to punish law abiding residents for the corruption at entity, the proposed means of credit management only serves to further punish paying residents.

If it is indeed true that Eskom has taken a decision not to repair or maintain infrastructure in areas with high levels of non-payment, I find this to be rather disturbing.

Quite simply, Eskom has a legal obligation to provide electricity to those residents who duly honor their financial obligations to the utility.

The City of Joburg cannot sit by idly and watch Eskom engage in such unethical and unlawful conduct. We have a duty to protect our law abiding residents who are affected by this conduct.

Should Eskom fail to heed my request, I will have no choice but to institute urgent dispute resolution proceedings with the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (NERSA), in terms of Section 4(1)(c)(i) of the Electricity Act, No. 41 of 1987 (“the Act”), between the City (as a consumer as defined in the Act as well as on behalf on the affected residents of the City) and Eskom.

Issued by Luyanda Mfeka, Director of Communications, Office of the Executive Mayor, 11 July 2019