Free State, Eskom in talks over payment plans

The Free State Provincial Government and Eskom on Thursday held discussions over payment plans to resolve outstanding arrear debt on Eskom accounts.

The talks were led by Eskom’s Interim Group Chief Executive, Matshela Koko, and the Director General of the Free State office of the Premier, Kopung Ralikontsane.

“We agreed to suspend electricity supply interruptions to the seven defaulting municipalities in the Free State following their payments in line with the PAJA [Promotion of Administrative Justice Act] process. Their January current account will be paid by mid-February 2017,” Koko said.

The two parties also agreed that while the outstanding arrear debt cannot be written off, certain elements need urgent review.

“We also agreed on the installation of prepaid meters as being the lasting revenue management solution which can help us avoid the current debt escalation.

“We should be able to start implementation by July 2017 at the latest in a number of municipalities. We encourage municipalities to sustain current account payments to Eskom,” said Ralikontsane.

The provincial government delegation raised billing issues and a commitment was made to engage on these within the next two weeks.

“The meeting further agreed on the dates of March and May 2017 to conclude the administrative processes that are needed to allow Eskom to complete the Revenue Management function in the identified municipalities.

“This will create a space for implementation to start after March and July 2017 respectively. We want to pass our sincere gratitude for the serious manner in which the Free State Provincial Government is handling the situation,” Koko said.