Eskom empowers Marite community

Pretoria – Eskom has completed the electrical connections of 212 houses at Marite’s RDP section in Bushbuckridge Municipality, in Mpumalanga, between September and November 2016.

“This community was highly impacted by illegal connections and this project has ensured that the local people’s lives are free from life-threatening illegal electricity,” Eskom said on Saturday.

At a customer forum held in the area recently, the power utility encouraged residents to refrain from connecting electricity illegally.

“Members of the newly-connected households expressed their joy that they have finally been connected and indicated that they will make sure that they treat electricity according to the safety precautions highlighted by Eskom during the customer forum.”

In partnership with the Department of Energy (DoE), Eskom has connected almost 5 million households to the distribution network since 1991.

The government’s quest to achieve universal electricity access is gaining momentum.

In February this year, the National Treasury announced that it will allocate R17.6-billion to Eskom and municipalities for the rollout of the electrification programme to over 800 000 households over the next three years.

A further 70 000 households will be connected through non-grid technologies like solar PVs.

Electricity theft

The power utility said electricity theft is costing the South African economy R20 billion a year.

On Sunday, Eskom took its electricity theft education drive to KwaZulu-Natal. This as the province has been identified as one of the top six areas in the country where high rates of electricity theft are experienced.

Through Operation Khanyisa, a national campaign aimed at promoting the legal and safe use of electricity, Eskom embarked on an electricity theft education campaign aimed at ducating South Africans about the dangers of electricity theft.

Eskom has also urged citizens to report theft but also to help bring the perpetrators to book.

The campaign, which commenced in the North West, has also been rolled out in the Free State and Mpumalanga. 

“We are now focusing on KZN because it has, along with Mpumalanga, the Free State, North West, Limpopo, and Gauteng, been identified as a hot-spot area where electricity theft is rife,” said Eskom General Manager for KwaZulu-Natal Monde Bala.

Bala added that electricity theft, especially illegal connections, is not only dangerous because it can kill, but also because it could lead to heavy fines and incarceration. 

The penalty for electricity theft included disconnections, heavy fines, and even prosecution. To this effect, 50 arrests of electricity-theft suspects had been made, and over 25 cases were on the court roll.

Eskom urged community members to report the perpetrators of electricity theft and illegal connections by sending anonymous SMS tip-offs to 32211 (R1/SMS). – SAnews.gov.za