Eskom resumes installation of prepaid split meters in Soweto under heavily armed guard

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Eskom resumed installed prepaid split meters in Dlamini, Soweto under the watchful eye of heavy armed guards
Eskom resumed installed prepaid split meters in Dlamini, Soweto under the watchful eye of heavy armed guards
Eskom
  • Eskom said technicians returned to the Dlamini in Soweto on Monday to complete the installation of prepaid split meters. 
  • The power utility cut supply to certain parts of Dlamini last week after residents allegedly denied them access to the area to install prepaid split meters.
  • To ensure the safety of their employees, Eskom said it had arranged for their protection while they operate in Dlamini.

Eskom has resumed the installation of prepaid split meters in Dlamini, Soweto, under the watchful eye of heavily armed guards.

Last week, Eskom cut power supply to certain parts of Dlamini after residents allegedly denied them access to the area to install the prepaid split meters.

Split meters are prepaid meters where the meter itself is separate from the keypad that the tenant will use to type in their prepaid token. The meter itself can be locked away in a secure location where the risk of bypassing it can be controlled and easily inspected. 

The power utility said technicians had returned to the area on Monday to complete the project.

Eskom's Gauteng maintenance and operations senior manager Mashangu Xivambu said, to ensure the safety of their employees, they had arranged for their protection while they operate in Dlamini.

"Eskom employees in Gauteng are often assaulted, intimidated and placed in extreme situations, such as being held hostage by some community members.

"This harassment and intimidation is also experienced by the power utility’s employees while driving and operating in the field across Gauteng.

ALSO READ | Eskom cuts power to a part of Soweto after residents stop installation of prepaid meters

"This display of aggression and violence by communities sometimes leads to employees suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, depression and anxiety," Xivambu said.

He added that this also resulted in delays in repair work and project completion, further extending the period that residents spend without electricity.

He said it not only affected the security of supply for paying customers, but also contributed to increased energy and revenue losses, as well as increased operational costs.

"To address all these challenges, we will continue to convert customers from post-paid to pre-paid in order to empower our customers to take control of their consumption, and to ensure that they pay for the electricity that they use.

"Our employees and contractors’ safety remains our biggest priority and a major concern. As such, no urgency of work will justify exposing them to potential risks. Our services will be withdrawn in areas where the safety of our employees is threatened."


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