A LAST minute decision by the BaPhalaborwa municipality to pay Eskom saved residents a total blackout after the power utility had threatened to disconnect the electricity supply.
Eskom had issued a letter of warning to the municipality to pay its electricity account or face a blackout. The council's account has been in arrears for some time.
The municipality had allegedly failed to settle its account despite reminders by Eskom. This resulted in a strongly-worded letter being written to municipal manager Khumbudzo Ntshavheni to settle the account by May 5.
According to the letter, which Sowetan has seen, the municipality owed Eskom more than R40000.
"The total overdue amount as at the date of this letter on your account is R40951,03 and was due on April 21 2010," the letter says.
The letter further says if the electricity were disconnected, a reconnection fee of R830 per account would be payable.
According to Eskom's northern region customer services manager Dikgabane Rampedi, the blackout would have affected the municipality's water power booster pumps.
Spokesperson Elliot Ramachela confirmed that the municipality had been experiencing financial problems.