Eskom ordered to halt power cuts to towns

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Eskom ordered to halt power cuts to towns

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\n REUTERS | 2017-01-19 17:20:39.0\n \n \n \n \n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n \n\n \n\n\n \n \n

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\n \n \n \n Electricity pylons are seen near Arnot Power Station’s cooling towers, east of Middelburg in Mpumalanga province, September 8 2015.\n \n \n \n
Image by: Reuters/Siphiwe Sibeko \n \n \n \n

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\n Eskom has been instructed to allow municipalities until the Jan. 31 to settle arrears before switching off lights, a cabinet minister said on Wednesday.\n

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Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown said halting electricity supply to towns, who collectively owed more than 10 billion rand to Eskom, would hurt businesses and jobs but the debt needed to be settled.

“Municipalities need to make arrangements or they will have to face the repercussions of having power interruptions,” Eskom’s spokesman Khulu Phasiwe told Reuters.

The state-owned power utility said in a statement it was within its power to cut electricity completely according to the Electricity Regulations Act and municipality supply agreements but will only implement scheduled disruptions.

Poultry producer Astral Foods, which has also been hit by drought-induced high feed prices and from an over-supplied domestic market, said earlier this week it could come under further pressure if Eskom carries out the interruptions in a district where some of its operations are located.

“If it’s a permanent power cut we would have to euthanise all 11.5 million birds,” Astral’s managing director of agriculture Gary Arnold told Reuters.

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