Electricity thieves shamed

2011-04-01 00:00

THE Hibiscus Coast Municipality (HCM) has confirmed that criminal charges will be laid against two property owners for having illegal electricity connections.

As part of its name-and-shame “Izinyoka” project, the HCM disconnected the illegal hook-ups at a prominent house in Albersville and a block in Port Shepstone’s CBD on Wednesday in the presence of the local and provincial media.

The electricity staff, with officials and meter readers, identified one of the many the illegal connections on the South Coast at a prominent home in Flamingo Road after months of investigation.

“In this glamorous house the meter has been tampered with to read as if the supply is that of phase 1, but the actual supply is that of phase 3,” said the senior manager of mayoralty and communications at the HCM Simon Soboyisa.

He said the meter box was broken in the back and front, which proved to HCM electricians that the connection was wired to show meter readings that are lower than the actual electricity consumption.

Although the municipality was unable to confirm the name of the home owner, Soboyisa said that “the meter was supplying power to 16 Flamingo Road”.

“… the municipality had no option but to disconnect the power supply and engage in the process of laying criminal charges”.

While the municipality examined the electricity box, a person living in the home questioned them.

When she was told why the municipality was present, the woman got into her vehicle and drove away.

The Witness has since spoken to M.S. Desai, the owner of 16 Flamingo Road, who has expressed his anger at the HCM’s accusation.

“I am going to Pietermaritzburg tomorrow [today] to get a high court order to get the power switched back on,” he said.

“I have done nothing wrong; if I was tampering with my connection I would be paying a lot less, I can assure you.”

Desai claims to have bills of between R3 500 and R4 000 that he has paid monthly.

That same afternoon, the municipality identified a building block on Robinson Street in the Port Shepstone CBD with illegal connections.

“Besides being a criminal act, this also poses a very dangerous situation as six connections are done on one main line of power supply,” Soboyisa said about the building. The meter was also not registered.

“We are yet to establish how long this has been in existence; no one has ever paid for the electricity as the meter there is not registered,” he said.

Soboyisa warned that people who commit similar offences will be criminally charged.

“We cannot let a situation where honest and loyal ratepayers cross-subsidise other people who do not want to pay for what they have consumed in terms of electricity,” he added.

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