South Africa: Eskom Urges Communities to Stop Illegal Connections

Eskom is appealing to communities to stop illegal connections as it continues to experience an increasing number of repeated equipment failures in most areas.

The power utility has been experiencing repeated equipment failures, especially in Gauteng.

"This is primarily due to illegal connections leading to overloading, which results in failure of transformers and mini-substations. This is exacerbated by meter tampering, electricity theft and vandalism of infrastructure," said the power utility.

Eskom said increased equipment failure has a significant negative impact on its operations, finances and safety of employees as well as the public.

Meanwhile, the power utility announced that it will not be restoring power to areas that have repeated failures due to illegal connections, meter tampering and bypassing.

"Eskom will only restore supply to legal and paying customers in the areas, on condition that the community allows safe access to Eskom staff to conduct audits and remove illegal connections."

"If we do not conduct the audits, we run the risk of continued failures without dealing with the root cause. In some areas, Eskom technicians have not been allowed to conduct these audits, which result in repeated failures of equipment making power restoration a wasteful exercise," it said.

Last month, Eskom issued a notice saying that is has been forced to halt work on substation repairs as well as maintenance operations in Gauteng. This was due to safety concerns of staff and debt that is on the increase.

Work has been halted temporarily in Soweto's Braamfischer and Klipsruit and well as Pretoria's Winterveldt, among others.

The decision, it said this week comes after extensive customer and various stakeholder engagements across the Gauteng province, aimed at resolving issues related to electricity services.

"Eskom will continue to engage with councillors in all affected areas to deal adequately with these issues. Furthermore, Eskom would like to affirm its commitment to collaborate and engage with various communities to find solutions so that we can resume with our services," it said, while also thanking its paying customers for their continued commitment to paying for the services that they use.

The power utility has appealed to communities to report illegal connections and meter tampering, including when Eskom employees are involved.

The Eskom crime line number is 0800 11 27 22.

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