Buying and selling illegal electricity will land you in jail

By Drum Digital
06 February 2017

Eskom has sent out a strong warning to South Africans to beware of scammers selling illegal electricity, and warns that buyers are just as guilty of committing a crime.

Recently four accused, including a mother and son, were found guilty on 16 451 counts of electricity theft.

The accused were found in the possession of a stolen Credit Dispensing Unit machine belonging to Eskom that prints out prepaid electricity vouchers.

Eskom uncovered numerous customer lists, electricity meter numbers and 996 illegal prepaid electricity vouchers of varying value.

Dileep John, Head of Operation Khanyisa at Eskom, says South Africans need to beware of these electricity scams:

  1. Cable Theft
  2. Ghost Vending
  3. Meter Tampering

“Cable theft leads to the illegal connection of electricity which is one of the most dangerous because it can lead to death,” he says.

“Ghost vending is what the four accused were arrested for, which is door- to-door selling of electricity vouchers.”

John explains that ghost venders use legitimate Eskom devices to distribute electricity vouchers, but they pocket the money.

The warning to South Africans is to avoid buying cheap electricity and come forward if they suspect a crime is being committed.

“Eskom generates reports on the electricity purchase patterns of customers. Illegal electricity purchases are identified when a meter is found with prepaid electricity loaded where there exists no purchase records or corresponding purchase records by the customer on Eskom’s systems," he says.

"Buying illegal electricity vouchers is a crime and is punishable by law. Those found using illegal prepaid electricity vouchers can face disconnection, fines and even legal prosecution.

"In addition to disconnection, fines and even legal prosecution, those who use illegal electricity services are in fact supporting criminals who might also be involved in other crimes such as drugs. This is why it is important to take a stand against all forms of crime, including electricity theft."

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