Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown said the massive power outages recently experienced across South Africa especially by residents of Soweto and other areas around Gauteng are not load shedding but the consequences of stealing electricity.
The Minister expressed dissatisfaction regarding the continued use of illegal connections, wailing that they are dangerous and are causing the nation avoidable black-outs.
She said the massive power outages cannot be load shedding as Eskom has not implemented load shedding for 10 months.
“Eskom will inform its customers, including municipalities and the general public, before it implements load shedding. The network overloads because too many people are trying to use a network which is designed for one household per stand.
Also, customers who are not paying for their electricity tend to be wasteful in the way they use it,” Brown explained.
The Minister buttressed that stealing electricity through illegal connections overstretch resources and subsequently, shrinks Eskom delivery to legal power users. That, she said, is unacceptable.
“It is unacceptable that people are still continuing with illegal connections, while government has a free basic electricity policy to protect the indigent from high electricity prices.
These illegal connections are putting residents and especially children at risk of being electrocuted,” she lamented.
According to her, she was informed by the power utility outlet that the areas with smart metres are unlikely to have overloading.
Based on that, she remarked that it is imperative to accelerate smart metre deployment and for communities to support the programme in order to improve the quality of their supply and ensures safety.
She also, related that Eskom do install fuses or circuit breakers that switch off when the load gets to dangerous levels in order to preventing the transformer from exploding.
The Minister said residents sometimes bypass the safety measures and enable the transformers to explode.
“Not only is this dangerous, but these transformers may take hours or days to repair. I remain concerned about the safety of the communities which may be at risk due to the escalating number of illegal connections, meter bypassing or tampering, and vandalism to electricity infrastructure,” she stated.
With the foregoing, she appealed to South Africans to support Eskom’s operation Khanyisa and report illegal connections to the police.