Electricity ‘thieving’ problem

2015-05-05 06:00

Phumlani Village residents are risking life and limb to illegally connect electricity.

Ward councillor Shaun August has raised concern over residents in the informal settlement connecting their electricity illegally after they found a way to bypass the electricity boxes.

People’s Post previously reported on the electrification of Phumlani Village where electricity was supplied to 200 residents (“Switching on the lights – at last”, 24 April 2014).

August says he visited the area a few months ago when he noticed the worrying trend.

“While I was doing a site visit I saw some residents were able to connect their house supply straight to the main electricity supply in their roads. They managed this by connecting it to the supposed grey tamper-free electricity kiosks in their roads,” he says.

According to August this practise is very worrying as the City of Cape Town now loses millions of rands a year due to “thieving” residents.

“These residents should be paying for their pre-paid electricity, but due to the illegal connections they are now basically getting free electricity supply to their homes. It is a health and safety risk,” August adds.

Mayoral Committee Member for Utility Services Ernest Sonnenberg says the amount of money that is lost due to illegal electricity connections totalled up to R250m for the 2014/2015 financial year.

“This is a major loss to the City every year. It is uncalled for and the residents need to understand that they are committing an illegal act,” August says.

Sonnenberg adds the City bought 10 200 532 274 kWh of electricity for the 2013/2014 financial year.

This amounted to just over R6.2bn for that financial year.

Sonnenberg has warned residents who connect their home electricity supply to kiosks in their road. “In terms of bypassing the meter, the installation or modification of any electrical infrastructure by anyone who is not certified and does not have the necessary authority to do so endangers lives and increases the risk of fire. In addition, overloading of the network causes nuisance tripping and the malfunction of appliances,” Sonnenberg explains.

He adds that there are penalties payable for residents who find themselves guilty of the illegal connections.

Residents are encouraged to report illegal connections to 086 010 3089 or by sending an SMS to 31220. V

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