City of Johannesburg utility City Power will embark on a three-week programme to patrol and clear electricity lines servitudes of encroaching objects, it said on April 15.
An investigation conducted by City Power into the cause of frequent power outages affecting the north-eastern corridors, especially the Greenstone area, found that, while most of the outages were owing to vandalism and cable theft, a worrying number were owing to faults on the overhead lines caused by encroaching objects, including trees and buildings.
An investigation, which started early this year, found that most of the trees interfering with power transmission lines were in private homes, especially around Senderwood, Sandringham, Bedfordview, Sandton and Morningside, where access was often denied. There were also houses that were found to have been built under the transmission lines in areas including Alexandra and Morningside.
"The team will do a blanket programme to clear all the servitudes, starting with this one affecting Greenstone. City Power will also review its service level agreement with City Parks to ensure frequent monitoring and clearing of the servitudes. We urge the community to co-operate with our teams in the next three weeks and allow access in areas where the trees are in private properties," said City Power CEO Mongezi Ntsokolo.
"We need to be clear and tough on those who refuse us access to cut trees in their yards. We will use the law where needs be, to ensure that by-laws are respected. No one is allowed to build a structure or plant trees under the power lines. It is not only dangerous, but, as seen recently, it poses a huge risk to our network, leading to frequent outages," said City of Johannesburg Environment and Infrastructure Services Department MMC Mpho Moerane.
Theft and vandalism have a disruptive effect on the lives of the residents and on the economy, especially during this time of Covid-19. City Power will increase security patrols in the area of Greenstone and has requested the Johannesburg Metro Policy Department and South African Police Service to assist.