DURBAN – The Municipality of MSUNDUZI is becoming increasingly desperate to find a solution to the city’s energy crisis triggered by its aging infrastructure. It has called on Eskom in its latest step to “take over” part of the municipality’s network maintenance. A service-level agreement has been proposed by the city where Eskom can maintain some sub-stations and help to train some of the employees of the city.
At a special council meeting last week, the draft agreement was accepted, but the agreement itself has yet to be signed. However, opposition parties, who endorsed the deal, expressed concern about the service-level agreement that it might further compromise the municipality as it was fighting financially and could fail to pay Eskom for services provided. Since the beginning of the year, the municipality has struggled to keep the lights on in many places after two of its sub-stations collapsed.
The report tabled before the council claimed that due to the various faults on the current networks due to aging infrastructure, theft and vandalism and network capacity limitations, the city faced continuous outages. It said Eskom was instrumental in helping to restore power quickly to the city and felt there was a need to formalize the arrangement. Under an emergency order, Eskom supported the municipality, and it became necessary to formalize the relationship to stabilize the network.
As and when necessary, Eskom will be responsible for emergency repairs to the electricity infrastructure. The scope of Eskom is not limited to products containing 14 sub-stations and transmission lines because it has the experience to operate in these fields. “The evaluation of the status of the electricity infrastructure and the recommendations for short, medium and long-term solutions covering operations and maintenance, refurbishment and upgrades will also be undertaken,” it said. The report stated that Eskom will also help develop capacity within the municipality of Msunduzi, including staff training, transfer of skills, best practices, procedures, standards, and