Companies secure Eskom’s vow to not cut electricity

 

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, Netwerk24 reported recently.

The court bid in the Pretoria High Court gave rise to Eskom agreeing to not cutting electricity to the municipality at scheduled times every day from 26 January.

The companies, viz., 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 2 December last year and 10 January 2017 that Madibeng’s electricity supply will be cut at 17h00.

Gerrit Greyling, administrative human resources manager at Bridgestone, said in the company’s court documents Greyling said, in light of Eskom’s monopoly on the generation and supply of electricity, Eskom was obliged to consider all alternative, less drastic means to enforce 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 06h00 and 08h00 and 17h00 and 19h30 from Monday to Friday and  between 08h30 and 11h00 and 15h00 and 17h30 over weekends 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.

Acknowledgement

This article was first published by Netwerk24 and is republished here with permission.

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