Illegal connections and electricity theft are causing widespread problems in Khutsong township near Carletonville – unfairly inconveniencing law-abiding and paying customers.
Khutsong is a typical township where the original formal housing area was electrified years ago, and the area has now grown exponentially with informal settlements surrounding the original formal section. These informal settlements then connected illegally to the electrified formal section for power.
The electricity network in these townships was designed for a maximum demand of 2kVA per stand; however illegal connections overload the transformers, resulting in regular power failures. The informal settlements in Khutsong are infested with illegal connections which cause equipment to operate above their maximum operating parameters.
“Thankfully we can now counter the bad news with some good news too. Eskom is ready to electrify 2 000 homes in the Khutsong area. The only thing we need is to finalise the numbers and layouts of the areas with the local municipality”, confirms Thokozani Nsele, Customer Relations Area Manager in Gauteng.
The Eskom network in Khutsong is also no longer up to standard, making it unsafe for Eskom staff to repair damage to infrastructure caused by illegal connections.
“Fatalities and injuries to members of the public due to the unsafe use of electricity remains a major concern for Eskom in Gauteng. What makes the problem even more concerning is that residents do not report injuries or fatalities related to electrical contact incidents. In their minds Eskom will investigate the cases if they report, and then Eskom will remove the illegal connections.
Electricity theft, including illegal connections, meter tampering and bypassing, and the buying and selling of illegal prepaid vouchers remains a serious concern for South Africa, costing the economy approximately R20 billion yearly. Three quarters of this is reported to be losses suffered by municipalities.
“We also see the devastating results of children, and adults in some cases, getting seriously or fatally injured after making contact with electricity. It’s crucial that everyone understands how electricity works, travels and is used, to help reduce its danger as a powerful force that can result in fire, injury and death,” says Mr Nsele.
article by Nicholas Munzhedzi