Please pay us‚ Eskom begs municipalities
Eskom has urged municipalities to prioritise paying the power utility for electricity in order to improve the company's revenue collection situation.
Just days after Eskom received a downgrade from S&P Global Ratings‚ the company used the platform as a corporate sponsor to the SA Local Government Association conference to make a call for municipalities to start paying.
“The area that is of concern to us is the rise in debt of municipalities. The municipalities are aware that they owe us money. They have consumed energy and the challenge is that the debt is not coming down. In fact in about three months it escalated by about R3-billion.
“It is important that you pay us. I am going to stand here and plead with you and beg you to please& honour the payment arrangements that you have signed‚” said Eskom group executive of customer services Ayanda Noah.
She added: We are aware that you will be getting the equitable share in the next two days. Please remember us in the equitable share and also in March when you get the other equitable share‚ please remember us. It is very important to us [that you pay] for the sustainability of Eskom.
“I am sure that you are aware that Eskom was downgraded last week. The ratings agencies and our auditors are very concerned about our inability to collect our money from the municipalities.”
Municipalities provide 42% of Eskom's revenue which makes them crucial in the financial health of the company. In September‚ municipalities owed Eskom R9.2-billion.
The power utility has established a revenue collections plan to deal with the rise in municipal debt. This plan will be rolled out fully in four municipalities - two in the Eastern Cape and two in the Free State.
It includes the installation of smart meters which compel consumers to pay for electricity upfront and prevent theft of electricity.
“Not only will this put more money into your pocket but it will reduce the bill that we charge you. Currently we charge you but some of the energy goes away‚” Noah explained to councillors in Sandton.
Last week‚ S&P Global Ratings downgraded Eskom’s credit rating and kept its outlook negative. The rating agency said Eskom was facing financial pressure as a result of an ongoing court case against South Africa's energy regulator.
It also said Eskom’s government guarantee of R350-billion was due to expire in March and no decision had been made to extend it.