Joburg’s municipality has approached Eskom with a plan to assume the responsibility of delivering power supply to Soweto and a few more suburbs in Jozi, the city said on Monday 4 October. The plan is to introduce ‘Energy Mix’ which will include gas and solar solutions.
The plan was revealed by Johannesburg’s newly-elected mayor Mpho Moerane. Soweto has had to face continued power cuts as Eskom tries to force the people in the township to settle unpaid electricity debt of up to R7,5-billion.
“We’re in negotiations with Eskom to take over areas of Soweto, Sandton, Orange Farm, Diesploot, Pinetown. Discussions started last year by minister Gordhan, Eskom CEO and late mayor Makhubo and councillors,” said the new mayor Moerane.
“The problem started when our counsellors faced attacks in Soweto because of a lack of service delivery from Eskom. The main purpose of our initial approach was to ask Eskom to come on board to provide the services that are needed by the people of Soweto.”
With the Eskom power cuts in Soweto driven by the power utility’s demands to make the residents settle electricity debt, the mayor explained what the municipality will do differently, but did not touch on the outstanding debt.
“We understand our people and we understand their needs. We supply water, we supply infrastructure, streets lights and we collect refuse.”
“Some people of Soweto afford electricity and some don’t. So we will be introducing Energy Mix. We’ve realised the people won’t be using gas, so we will be providing gas. We already have gas partners waiting to assist us. We also have private offers to assist with solar panels instead of making people rely on the grid.”
“We will invite many power producing partners and will invite people to bid for waste to energy solutions. Basically we want to introduce energy mix in all our townships.”
Moroane also explained how the negotiations with Eskom started and what progress has been to date.
“Eskom came back to us after a month to say that the matter was forwarded to the board that deals with takeover matters. Eskom then approved the takeover of electricity supply in those areas to be managed by the City of Johannesburg, which will be supplied through City Power.
“We have been explaining in meetings how we will make this transit of power supply, it is quite complex. You are moving assets worth four billion.”