MIKE SILUMA: Eskom's blunt instrument hurts righteous and offenders alike

20 September 2020 - 00:17 By Mike Siluma

If you were a law-abiding township citizen, being one of several million Eskom customers, yours would be a wretched life. And you would be livid. That's because Eskom, ever the creative communicator, has been implementing "load reduction" in a range of townships from Gauteng to Mpumalanga, the Free State and KwaZulu-Natal. It switches off, often in the morning and evening, thousands of households. Eskom says this is to prevent system overload due to illegal connections. On another occasion you might be subjected to power cuts that occur when generators start falling like dominoes. A not infrequent thing these days. Then, if you should escape all of the above, the chances are you will be in the dark because of damaged infrastructure in your neighbourhood - occasioned by the above-mentioned system overloading.

The reason for power cuts is well known: we produce less power than we need. And "load reduction"? While technically sensible, it's wrong-headed and imposes the consequences of poor governance on citizens. System overload is a direct result of unregulated settlement expansion and poor planning. This accounts for mushrooming informal settlements and backyard structures...

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