Eskom keeps the light on for paying locals in Soweto

Eskom has commended the citizens of Diepkloof Zone 3 for their efforts to uphold their deferred payment agreements with the power supplier, citing a 64 percent increase in consumers who were ultimately purchasing electricity legitimately, because the township was one of many communities in Soweto that had contributed to Soweto’s Eskom debt of billions of rand, the power utility praised the township for the progress it had made.

The debt had built over a long period of time as a result of, among other things, unauthorized connections, illicit electrical purchases, and unpaid electricity bills.

Diepkloof Zone 3 has improved as a result of Eskom’s disconnections and insurance of remedial fees, which were put in place in November 2021 as a result of customers who were meter-bypassing, purchasing electricity from phantom vendors, failing to pay for the electricity they used, and connecting illegally to the electricity network.

Customers that received corrective papers have entered into Deferred Payment Arrangements (DPA) with Eskom, and it has been discovered that the majority of them are adhering to these contracts. Eskom spokesperson in Gauteng Amanda Qithi said: “The revenue lost on zero buyers was averaging R435 000 a month, which has significantly decreased.”

Since then, the power provider has experienced an 82 percent rise in sales and a 40 percent decrease in energy losses. Eskom has also observed a rise in the proportion of customers in the area buying legitimate electricity tokens, from 22% to 86%.

Qithi said: “Subsequently, Diepkloof Zone 3 will be removed from load reduction as the energy losses have continued to reduce to below 51%.

“This is an indication that the network is not overloaded, therefore minimizing the possibility of equipment failing and exploding. Eskom is still faced with a high demand for equipment that needs to be repaired or replaced as a result of repeated failures and damages.”

Qithi added: “To curb these failures and damages, Eskom implements control measures such as audits, disconnections, maintenance, load reduction, and the equipment replacement process, which has been intensified to further ensure financial sustainability and return on investment.”

The Power Utility has also stated that it has taken steps to make sure that clients will uphold their agreements with them by conducting an audit, which included checking meters, continuing to issue remedial notices and disconnecting clients whose meters were found to be tampered with or who were still buying goods from phantom vendors.

“From conducting illegal electricity-related acts and ensuring that energy losses from their respective feeders are below 51%, like in Diepkloof Zone 3, Eskom remains committed to partner with all communities to ensure the sustainable resolution of electricity challenges across Gauteng,” said Qithi.Eskom’s debt to Soweto residents has fallen from R12.8 billion to R7.5 billion in 2021, however this was due to the power company writing off R5.3 billion.

In order to slow the growth of arrears, Eskom has pledged to deliver its municipal debt management strategy to municipalities that are willing to cooperate with them and pursue active partnership agreements. Eskom has also committed to leveraging its relationship with the government and the political task team of the power utility to find long-term solutions for the recovery of municipal and Soweto arrears.

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