Illegal connections cost R2bn a year

Picture: Thinkstock

Picture: Thinkstock

Illegal connections and cable theft is costing Eskom R2 billion annually, the power utility said yesterday.

Speaking to The Citizen, Eskom spokesman Khulu Phasiwe said one of the biggest challenges facing them is customers fearing to give information about illegal connections.

He said illegal connections also contribute to unplanned outages.

“Generally what we see is some people who are connected illegally to the system and that is causing a strain on the power system, which in turn leads to prolonged outages.

“For instance, in Jabulani, we recently found out that some people are using sticks to balance the earth leakage circuit breaker so that it does not trip, but that on its own can cause an explosion,” said Phasiwe.

He said whenever there’s a fault or outage, customers who are illegally connected do not call or report the matter to Eskom.

When reporting a fault to Eskom, customers are usually asked for their meter numbers – something which those who are illegally connected to the system fear.

He said they hope a new law or legislation which government is working on will assist in dealing with the main perpetrators of connecting illegally.

“In the event that we find one of our customers illegally connected to the system, we disconnect their meter and fine them R5 000 plus an additional R500 for reconnection, and in the case of non-Eskom customers, we completely remove the box,” said Phasiwe.

He called on customers to annonymously report illegal connections and cable theft incidents by calling Eskom’s toll-free number, 0800 11 27 22.

Meanwhile, residents in several areas of Johannesburg south told this paper they were afraid to report illegal connections, as the culprits would come after them.





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