Soweto residents are starting to pay off some of the debt owed to Eskom, which is sitting at R12.9 billion.
Last year, Eskom officials said that residents were R18 billion in arrears, which included the accumulative interest.
Soweto’s debt has been a major headache for the power utility. At some point last year, it accounted for almost half of the total local municipal debt owed to Eskom.
Eskom’s senior manager for customer services in Gauteng, Daphne Mokwena, told Eyewitness News that Soweto residents owed Eskom R7.8 billion for electricity already provided to the area, which excluded the R5 billion interest that’s accumulated for non-payment.
In an effort to get more residents to pay their bills, Eskom is converting households to prepaid electricity meters.
Mokwena said that nearly 66,000 prepaid meters had been installed.
“This year we still need to convert about 17,500 meters to prepaid. The remaining installations of about 52,000 will be done in the next two years,” she said.
Many residents cannot afford to pay their electricity bills and had resorted to illegal connections.
In recent months, Eskom took an unprecedented approach to stop the damage to its infrastructure caused by illegal connections and bypasses by implementing so-called “load reduction” in Gauteng townships.
On Monday morning, the power utility that said it had implemented load reduction in Katlehong and Vosloorus on the East Rand.