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Companies secure Eskom vow to not cut electricity

Jan 18 2017 10:55
Jeanne-Marié Versluis, Netwerk24

Cape Town – Eight companies with extensive industrial operations which need uninterrupted power supply filed an urgent court application to stop Eskom from cutting the electricity of the Madibeng municipality in North West province, Fin24's sister publication Netwerk24 reported on Tuesday.

The court bid in the Pretoria high court gave rise to Eskom agreeing not to cut electricity to the municipality at scheduled times daily from January 26.

The companies - Bridgestone SA, Bosch SA, Syngenta Crop Protection, Inergy Automotive Systems SA, Mpact Brits Plastic Containers, Polystar Tape and Fabric, Polymark Recycling and Kromberg and Schubert – demanded that Eskom convey a detailed plan and the reasons for its decision to cut electricity supply to the municipality, and asked the court to rule that Eskom be prohibited from cutting the power unless it provides a comprehensive list of the reasons.

In addition, the companies asked the court to prohibit Eskom from cutting the electricity supply until they have submitted their court application. The application still needs to be submitted. 

According to the agreement that was reached on Monday, Eskom will not act on its notifications of December 2 last year and January 10 2017 that Madibeng’s electricity supply will be cut at 17:00.

READ: Eskom can turn off the lights, court rules 

Gerrit Greyling, administrative human resources manager at Bridgestone, said in the company’s court documents that in the light of Eskom’s monopoly on the generation and supply of electricity, the power utility was obliged to consider all alternative, less drastic means to enforce payment of Madibeng’s debt. 

This could have induced the withdrawal of Madibeng’s licence and Eskom taking over the electricity supply, or a recommendation to the energy minister for the appointment of an appropriate undertaker to take over the municipality’s obligations.

According to Greyling, it appeared that Eskom had not considered these alternatives, but instead chose a drastic, unduly detrimental approach without properly considering alternatives or allowing meaningful participation by affected consumers. 

Eskom plans to cut Madibeng’s electricity supply daily between 06:00 and 08:00 and 17:00 and 19:30 from Mondays to Fridays, and over weekends between 08:30 and 11:00 and 15:00 and 17:30 until Madibeng settles its debt.

Greyling argued these interruptions will be catastrophic for Bridgestone, as uninterrupted power supply is paramount for its operations. 

The eight companies further argued that they had a constitutional right to protect themselves against interference with their commercial and property rights. 

The fact that Madibeng is not paying Eskom for electricity has violated these rights, they argued. 

* For the full story and more news in Afrikaans, visit Netwerk24.

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eskom  |  power cuts

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