Soweto residents owe Eskom over R18 billion in electricity bills

Soweto residents owe Eskom over R18 billion in electricity bills

- Soweto reportedly owes Eskom more than R18 billion in unpaid electricity bills

- The power utility says they will install over 26 000 prepaid meters to force residents to pay for their power

- This comes as Eskom still faces a major debt crisis

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According to Eskom, Soweto residents now owe the power utility over R18 billion.

Over R3 billion of that debt was accumulated in the last year alone, almost exclusively through unpaid electricity bills.

This comes after considerable public frustration that Soweto has not had its electricity cut off, despite the massive amount the township owes.

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Eskom says that the interest on this debt is rapidly increasing and is one of the reasons that the outstanding amount is now so large.

According to Eyewitness News, Eskom has been installing prepaid electricity meters in the township as a way to force electricity users to pay for their usage. 

The SOE hopes to install some 26 000 such prepaid meters in the next year, has gathered. 

Nevertheless, the power utility remains in dire straits. Its total debt stands at around R420 billion, although Deputy-President David Mabuza says it has actually increased since this figure was made public.

During his State of the Nation Address, President Ramaphosa said that a bill would be tabled to allocate Eskom "a significant portion of the R230 billion fiscal support that Eskom will require".

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Additionally, Finance Minister Tito Mboweni has said that Eskom will receive R69 billion from the National Treasury over the next three years.

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