Illegal connections lead to power outages

2018-10-25 06:00
A child plays near fallen electricity cables in Umbhayi. PHOTO: ANDILE SITHOLE

A child plays near fallen electricity cables in Umbhayi. PHOTO: ANDILE SITHOLE

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THE fight between formal and informal dwellers over power theft is far from over as millions of residents have to suffer due to power theft.

At least five homes lost power in Belvedere after a transformer blew up in the area last week.

This emerged at a meeting in Tongaat on Tuesday afternoon after power had been interrupted for more than two days, leaving residents in the dark.

Ward councillor Dolly Munien said a transformer supplying power to the homes in Belvederes blew up due to illegal connections.

When a Coastal Weekly journalist visited the area, loose electricity cables could be seen running from the electricity meter boxes to some of the houses in the informal settlement.

When the journalist asked the mother of a nearby child about the safety of her child, she said there was nothing wrong with the electricity cables.

Munien said: “I’m inundated with calls from agitated residents complaining about power cuts in the area. One of the residents said that he saw people connecting cables to a transformer before it blew up. It’s not on to make people who pay for rates suffer,” Munien said. However, Munien said power has now been restored to the area.

Police spokesperson in Tongaat, Captain Patrick Ngwane, said: “We conduct operations together with the officials from the department of electricity to disconnect illegal connections. Many people, including children, have died as a result of illegal connections. Our message is crystal clear to the community, we warn them to stop stealing power.”

eThekwini Municipality said in a statement that cable and electricity theft often leads to devastating and tragic consequences, such as loss of life as well as damage to infrastructure, which costs the municipality about R230 million annually. If residents see any suspicious electricity illegal connections, they can contact the electricity department’s call centre at 080 13 13 111, send an SMS to 083 700 0819 or e-mail custo
care@elec.durban.gov.za or phone the cable theft hotline at 031 311 9611.

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