The Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) in the Free State is confident there will be no electricity cuts in the province, despite municipalities owing Eskom R842-million.
This after Eskom said if Free State municipalities did not settle their debt or make sustainable payment arrangements, they would face blackouts.
Last week the power utility served notices to eight municipalities and said it would exercise its rights to disconnect the supply of electricity by March 30.
The municipalities in debt include: Nketoana, Masilonyana, Tokologo, Manstopa, Ngwathe, Dihlabeng, Nala and Phumelela.
Last year, the power utility also served notices to municipalities in the province that owed almost R2-billion.
Eskom had sent out notices to towns in April, informing communities that it planned to implement extra load shedding or cut electricity supply from June 5, 2015.
"The current municipal electricity debt has been an ongoing matter... the task team has embarked on a process of refining payment plans and ensuring that municipalities would present these to Eskom as a payment programme that will see the debt addressed in a long term and no electricity cuts experienced," said Head of Cogta, Mokete Duma.
He said their team would present the plans by end of February and a final presentation was planned before end of March.
"We are confident that there will be no electricity cuts... and the debt will, with time, be settled," Duma said.
He also said the expansion of informal settlements as a result of increased urbanisation in search of a better life, increased demands on services which were previously meant for few.
"This massive change added to the demands on services; electricity, water, sanitation. Municipal systems, including electricity supply formulae, were never meant to accommodate this growth."
Edited by: News24Wire
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