Jhb’s City Power losing billions to illegal connections

Illegal electricity connections. File image for illustrative purposes only: iStock

City Power is losing billions to illegal connections, which they say is the result of some of their own officials and contractors assisting residents with.

City Power is losing about R2 billion in non-technical losses, which include illegal connections, its spokesperson, Isaac Mangena, revealed during the removal of illegal electricity cables in Slovo Park, Coronationville.

Mangena said the power utility was battling with situations where its transformers and mini-substations were blowing up because of illegal connections.

He blamed some of its officials and contractors for assisting residents with the illegal connections.

“Every time we cut power, somehow the community reconnects themselves. We don’t tire and we will continue going back there. We appeal to law enforcers to increase intelligence on the ground in order to pick up perpetrators behind the illegal connections which are against our by-laws.

“We are working with several law enforcement agencies to ensure that when we leave an area after cut-offs there are no reconnections. What we are lacking is the issue of intelligence to pick up culprits.

“There are well-known people going around conducting illegal connections and make residents pay between R300 and R500 to reconnect for them. We want them to be identified and arrested,” said Mangena.

“Paying customers are always complaining about illegal connections eating from their network. They always have issues of power tripping because of these illegal connections. When we build a network and put in substations and transformers, we put them in according to the number of customers around there.

“Illegal connections cost the City of Johannesburg millions of rand in terms of lost revenue that we could have invested back to the infrastructure and the city. Paying customers, including small businesses near the squatter camp, lose revenue and are unable to operate.

“There are also people who are losing their employment because of illegal connections,” he added.

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