Eskom is still scratching its head over its inability to square up its debt collection troubles with Soweto, a Johannesburg township of at least 1.2-million people.
How much does Soweto owe Eskom?
As reported by EWN, the current total debt bill that Soweto owes the embattled power utility stands at an estimated R18-billion. Eskom spoke to the cited publication, revealing that it is struggling in its efforts to recoup most of the debt.
It was projected, in March, that because of the tariff increases that came into effect in April, the total debt would, more than likely, scrape past the R20-billion mark by 2020.
This makes Soweto the power utility’s biggest defaulter in history and in the short term, there is not much that can be done to change this.
What plans does the power utility have in place?
Eskom’s initial plan to call the township to order was to launch a project where each home would have prepaid meters installed.
According to Eskom’s Daphne Mokwena, this would lift the burden of liability from the power utility and place it in the hands of residents.
The aim, Mokwena revealed, is to have at least 26 000 prepaid meters fitted into Soweto homes by March 2020.
This will ease the debt that is currently accumulating at an unbelievable pace.
The power utility’s Senior Operations Manager explained that a sizable portion of the township’s debt comes from interest, more than anything.
In fact, Soweto’s capital debt only grew by R500-million in the previous financial year.
The mounting interest attached to that debt, Mokwena noted, has made it all the more difficult for the power utility to recoup the money.
How much debt has Soweto accrued so far in 2019?
For the power utility, the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel is still a needle on a wall of darkness. So far in 2019, the township has racked up more than R1-billion in debt.
“We’re still battling a bit; if customers aren’t paying, there’s interest and obviously that ups the amount a little bit,” Mokwena exclaimed.