'Those who use electricity must pay for it': Eskom CEO

Eskom CEO Andre de Ruyter says municipalites and individuals owe Eskom abnout R43bn.
Eskom CEO Andre de Ruyter says municipalites and individuals owe Eskom abnout R43bn.
Image: REUTERS/Sumaya Hisham

Debt of about R43bn owed by municipalities and consumers is rising and remains a huge concern for Eskom.

Eskom CEO Andre de Ruyter is, however, encouraged that the power utility is implementing measures to improve debt collection.

De Ruyter, who was giving an update on Eskom’s operational performance on Friday, said its income statement remained under considerable pressure.

“One of the key elements we need to address is effective revenue management.”

De Ruyter said at the end of December 2019, arrears debt by municipalities was at R26.8bn including interest, and debt from individual users was around R16.5bn.

“I am encouraged by the strategy that our distribution division has implemented since May of last year to enhance revenue collection," he said. “Since the implementation of this strategy, the payment rate in Soweto, for example, has improved from 12% to 23.9%.”

De Ruyter said the improvement in payments was partly due to the fact that some political leaders had publicly stated there was a need for citizens to pay for services they received as there could be no free ride when it came to service delivery.

“We will continue discussions with the government through various formal structures to address the issue of municipal debt, and we will endeavour to find a lasting solution to the problem.

“But it is important as a country that we assert the principle that those who use electricity have to pay for it.”

"We are, of course, stepping up our collective efforts. We do try to ensure that low payment rate areas are individually selected in order to step up payment rates," he said.

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