Molefe calls for pre paid electricity for all South Africans

If  acting Eskom CEO Brian Molefe had his way every household and business in South Africa would be connected to the electricity grid via prepaid meters.

Majuba Power Station. Photo Eskom
Majuba Power Station. Photo Eskom

Briefing Parliament’s committee on public enterprises yesterday, Molefe suggested to MPs he would be canvassing support to bypass municipalities and provide electricity directly to consumers.

In the short term, this would help Eskom reduce the debt of over R4 billion currently owed by municipalities.

“My advice to the board and I say this without proper consultation…Eskom should bypass these municipalities and provide electricity directly to the residents on a prepaid basis. In that way we don’t have to shut down any household who has paid electricity,” said Molefe.

He was responding to questions from MPs about Eskom’s threat to cut electricity to the top 20 defaulting municipalities which owe Eskom R3.6 billion.

Molefe would be pushing for all South African households and businesses to eventually be connected to the grid via prepaid meters in a bid to solve the financial dire straits Eskom finds itself in.

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“Prepaid electricity helps us to improve our cash flow and balance sheets. In fact in the long term I think the whole of South Africa must move to prepaid electricity,” Molefe said.

“Perhaps if we can all move to prepaid electricity we might be able to be asking for lower tariff increases because the cash requirement of Eskom will be taken care of upfront.”

Molefe said his immediate task since stepping into his new role last week was to find the additional electricity needed to put an end to load shedding. He told MPs South Africa’s electricity grid was short of about 3000 megawatts on any given day.

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