Power utility Eskom on Thursday warned that it will not be restoring power in areas affected by illegal connections.
This decision comes after extensive customer and various stakeholder engagements across the Gauteng province, aimed at resolving issues related to electricity services.
In a statement, group executive for distribution Monde Bala said Eskom had been experiencing an increasing number of repeated equipment failures in some areas, especially within Gauteng.
Eskom blamed illegal connections as the main cause of the failures of transformers and mini-substations, which it said was exacerbated by meter tampering, electricity theft and vandalism of infrastructure.
Furthermore, Bala added that increased equipment failure had had a significant negative impact on its operations, finances and the safety of employees and the public.
“Eskom has taken a decision 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,” Bala said.
Eskom said that if it did not conduct the audits, it ran the risk of continued failures without dealing with the root cause.
The statement said in some areas its technicians had not been allowed to conduct the audits which resulted in repeated failures of equipment making power restoration a wasteful exercise.
“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. I thank and applaud paying customers for their continued commitment to paying for the services that they use.”
Eskom has appealed to communities to report illegal connections and meter tampering, including when its employees are involved, to the Eskom crime line number - 0800 11 27 22.