IN QUOTES | 'Cable theft costs Eskom R50m in losses per annum': power utility boss Andre de Ruyter

23 October 2020 - 07:43 By cebelihle bhengu
Eskom CEO Andre de Ruyter said most power stations are nearly 40 years old.
Eskom CEO Andre de Ruyter said most power stations are nearly 40 years old.
Image: REUTERS/Sumaya Hisham

Eskom CEO Andre de Ruyter says there is a need to combat cable theft which costs the power utility about R50m a year. He says Eskom has also noted an increase in infrastructure theft which now affects its transmission grid.

De Ruyter was giving a quarterly update on the state of Eskom on Thursday. He urged communities to report the theft to the power utility or police and help combat disruptions in power generation.

Here are five important quotes from his address:

Risk of load-shedding remains 

“We have managed to correct some of the design defects at Ingula and we are confident that operation is running well. All of this will contribute to change in the availability of our generation system by April next year.

But this is not enough to eliminate entirely the risk of load-shedding. There is also more work that needs to be done, but we anticipate that by September [2021] we will have done enough maintenance to reduce, but not eliminate, the risk of load-shedding.”

Illegal connections 

“At present, we are losing more than R2bn a year, due to electricity theft, illegal connections and meter tampering. Given the constrained state of Eskom's financial statements, you will understand that this is not a loss we can accommodate.”


“We have therefore decided to implement load-reduction during peak hours, where illegal connections cause our local distribution grids to be overloaded, creating a risk of fires and even explosions at our distribution transformers. To protect our assets, this is a step we have had to take.”

Cable theft 

“Since 2015, we have also suffered an extraordinary epidemic of cable theft. We have had 1,458 incidents of cable theft per year. This is costing us, in terms of asset value, about R50m in losses per annum. We continue to work closely with the law enforcement agencies, but we also urge all South Africans to act as our eyes and ears when they see incidents that are suspicious.”

Municipal debt

“At the end of August 2020, the debt of municipalities was R31.4bn. That leaves us with no option but to take assertive steps to arrest the further accumulation of additional debt, but also to recover the overdue debt. We have no choice but to accelerate this debt recover process by the attachment of bank accounts, the seizure of assets of defaulting municipalities.”