Court rules Eskom may not cut off supply to Randwest municipality
CREAMER MEDIA ONLINE WRITER
Leading poultry producer Astral on Wednesday secured an order against power utility Eskom in the Johannesburg High Court.
Acting judge Gerrie Nel ordered that Eskom be interdicted and restrained from interrupting the bulk supply of electricity to the Randwest local municipality, pending the outcome of a review application to be launched by Astral next year.
“Even though Astral had submitted written representations to Eskom setting out the reasons why the proposed disconnection of electricity would cause catastrophic damage, not only to Astral's Meadow Feeds business, but other businesses that operate in the Randwest local municipality, Eskom persisted with its intention to consider a disconnection.
“In the circumstances, Astral was left with no alternative but to approach the court for relief,” explained Astral feed division MD Michael Schmitz.
The decision to launch an urgent interdict application was taken after initially receiving Eskom's public notice, dated October 15, in which the State-owned entity notified the public of its decision to exercise its right to disconnect the supply of electricity to the Randwest municipality.
This disconnection was due to start on November 27, owing to the municipality’s failure to pay Eskom.
“We are satisfied with the order preventing Eskom from interrupting the electricity supply to our animal feed mill in Randfontein and believe that we, the paid-up consumers of electricity, should not be penalised for the inefficiencies and corruption prevalent within the local municipalities.
“The continued dependency on Eskom, which has a monopoly over the supply of electricity, remains unhealthy and its repeated threats to interrupt supply has a profound effect on businesses such as Astral,” said Astral CEO Chris Schutte.