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Eskom and City Power vow to continue to crack down on illegal electricity connections

28 December 2020 - 06:00 By iavan pijoos
The crackdown on illegal electricity connection continues. File photo,
The crackdown on illegal electricity connection continues. File photo,
Image: City Power

Eskom and City Power say they will continue to clamp down on illegal connections in Gauteng — whether they be in gated estates or informal settlements.

Eskom recently did an audit in the plush Waterfall Estate in Midrand where some residents had connected to the electricity network illegally.

Eskom’s Ronel Kotze said a total of 219 points were audited and six illegal connections found.

Kotze said the audits were conducted based on low consumption on the meters. She said some property developers had connected to the network while the property was under construction and failed to follow the process to apply for temporary supplies.

Kotze said the customers were disconnected on the same day and remedial notices issued.

“Two such incidents were found on site. Revenue recovery is done on these accounts and the customers are billed for the lost consumption.”

Kotze said one customer who had illegally connected himself was billed R415,683 and fined R45,000.

“Eskom is losing millions per year due to illegal connections to the network. We find that customers are prepared to pay someone to illegally connect them rather than to pay Eskom for the consumption,” Kotze said.

Isaac Mangena from City Power said the power utility was losing about R2bn in non-technical losses, which included illegal connections.

Mangena said this money lost could have been invested in infrastructure to ensure “sustainability in supply”.

“But because of these illegal connections, we are losing billions. You can imagine how serious it is. It inconveniences not only the residents, but also the businesses community.

“When we have illegal connections across the city, we get to a point where we have overloading of the network or breakdown of the infrastructure.”

Mangena said they had recently intensified the clampdown on illegal connections across the city.

He said the hotspots included informal settlements such as Alexandra and Rabie Ridge in Midrand.

During an operation in Rabie Ridge on December 17, Mangena said they recovered stolen cables used for illegal connections worth around R1.2m.

Other hotspot areas included informal settlements around Lenasia, Roodepoort and in the Johannesburg city centre.

“We are also seeing an increase of these illegal connections in the suburban areas.”

In September, City Power said an upmarket housing estate in Dainfern, Johannesburg, owed them R13m in illegal electricity connections.

Mangena said at the time that millions in revenue were being lost at Dainfern extensions, Dainfern proper and Dainfern Ridge.

The highest single debt owing by one customer was R1.4m and the house was found with no meter, thus illegally connected, Mangena said.

“We will continue intensifying these operations to ensure that we deal with the problem of illegal connections because it affects City Power’s duty to provide electricity to the people of the City of Johannesburg.”