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Gauteng, Eskom tackle electricity woes
27 October 2010


A partnership between Gauteng and Eskom will see efforts to encourage residents to pay for electricity consumption being stepped up, and indigent residents provided with electricity.

GAUTENG will partner with Eskom to provide electricity to indigent households and combat illegal connections in the province.


Gauteng premier Nomvula Mokonyane
Gauteng premier Nomvula Mokonyane


In addition, the province will involve the energy giant in the initial stages of every housing development, urge consumers to use electricity sparingly and encourage consumers to pay for electricity consumption.This will be done as part of a long-term partnership between the province and Eskom.

This was revealed at a press conference attended by Gauteng Premier Nomvula Mokonyane, Eskom chairman Mpho Makwana and the utility’s chief executive, Brian Dames on Tuesday, 26 October at the Premier’s Office in Marshalltown.

“Part of the work we are doing is to see how we can work together in growing the economy, with us taking advantage of our different responsibilities, one of supplying electrify and using the supply of electricity to improve the quality of life of our people in Gauteng,” said Mokonyane.

“The lack of payment for electricity usage eats on the pockets of those who are benefiting out of the supply,” she said.


Electricity for everyone
The partnership will also focus on ensuring that electricity is rolled-out in every household in the province. “Let us all make use of what is provided to us in a responsible manner; where services have been rendered and utilised we must pay for them so that the next person can benefit. It is possible for us to ensure that everyone in Gauteng has access to electricity if each one of us plays his or her role,” she said.

Mokonyane said the partnership would enhance Gauteng’s bid to address issues of non-payment resulting in electricity cut-offs and illegal connections. Eskom’s tariffs and billings systems give assistance to struggling municipalities and rehabilitate obsolete electricity infrastructure.

The two parties noted that the lack of payment where electricity had been consumed should be punishable because it strained the grid and hampered the rolling out of electricity to destitute areas. “We need to do an audit and appreciate that supply is now needed by a bigger number of people as compared to what we used to have in the past,” Mokonyane added.


A Green economy
The main concern was to address imbalances, renewable energy, a green agenda and ensure that even bulk users pay for their consumption. “The issue of a green economy and renewable energy is some of the things that as provincial government we are also engaged and are grappling with,” she said.

Makwana said Eskom had stabilised the grid and approved a new strategic direction and was ready to plan ahead. This is after Eskom conducted countrywide load shedding on a rotational basis because there was a high demand and shortage of capacity. Load shedding was meant to force bulk consumers to learn to use energy sparingly and was deemed the company’s last resort to regulate power usage. According to Eskom, it occurred partly because people used electrical appliances irresponsibly.

The partnership signalled the start of nationwide talk-shops, which Eskom will host with other provinces in the country.


Task team
Makwana added that it made sense for Eskom to participate in Gauteng’s growth and development strategy. “We have agreed to have a task team that will look at all aspects that have been raised, [including] cable theft, non payment and bad debts in the province as a whole and come up with a comprehensive strategy of how we are going to resolve that,” he said.

The joint task team will work with local government and housing departments to ensure that Eskom is involved in every infrastructural development, especially the building of houses and formalising informal settlements.

“Our desire is to be fully integrated with the planning processes that come from the office of the premier and fellow MECs,” said Makwana, describing the talks as a “wonderful engagement”.

“It is those kinds of issues that we have agreed with Eskom that we are going to be working together around engineering services, ailing infrastructure, financial management, revenue enhancement, protection of infrastructure that assists in terms of supply of electricity and promote responsible citizenry,” said the premier. 

Gauteng residents and businesses are urged to cut down on their electricity consumption. Residents are advised to embrace the popular international trend towards energy efficient lifestyles or face paying for wastage through environmental degradation and their wallets.

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Last Updated on 11 January 2013