Eskom tour puts safety first

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Pretoria - Eskom has embarked on a nationwide public safety campaign to raise awareness of the safe use of electricity.

The tour got underway in Khuma in the North West province on Wednesday.

“This visit is the first in a series of tours around the country, where Eskom officials will be raising awareness about using electricity safely. The aim is to educate the media and communities about some of the dangers associated with unsafe and improper use of electricity, including illegal connections, cable theft, low-hanging conductors, meter tampering and bypassing,” said the power utility on Wednesday.

Eskom said the unsafe use of electricity through unsafe wiring from illegal electricity connections is resulting in a loss of lives in the North West province.

Substandard and poorly insulated wiring, which is often the result of illegal electricity connections, meter tampering and bypassing, are responsible for deaths and serious injuries in North West communities.

North West Eskom General Manager, Azwimbavhi Mamanyuha, said that most of the injuries and deaths were a result of substandard wiring caused mainly by illegal connections.

“In a majority of these incidents, the improper and illegal connections have dire consequences, as they expose both adults and children to great risk,” he said on Wednesday.

Khuma, which is located near Klerksdorp, is one of the areas with a high prevalence of illegal connections in the province. Recently, there were two incidents where two people lost their lives after dangerous contact with electricity.

In one of the cases, an eight-year-old boy was electrocuted after touching a fence that was touching a live wire running from an illegal connection. The same fence had previously electrocuted the boy’s father, who survived.

In another incident, a 40-year-old man lost his life after being electrocuted while making contact with a washing line that was in contact with substandard open wiring.

Senior Occupational Health and Safety Manager at Eskom, Alex Stramrood, said people, in most cases children, are often injured or die when they accidentally come into contact with live electrical wires from illegal connections.

An illegal electricity connection is one that is made to the Eskom network, either at a mini sub-station, a neighbour’s meter or electricity board, or overhead line, without Eskom’s permission or by non-Eskom personnel. These connections are extremely dangerous because they are usually made with incorrect wiring, posing a danger to anyone who touches these unsafe wires.

“Safety is a major focus area at Eskom, and this extends to everyone including our employees, contractors, consumers and the general public. We encourage our communities to empower themselves with knowledge about electricity safety and to do whatever is necessary to eliminate any hazardous circumstances caused by improper and illegal connections. 

“Our visit to Khuma forms part of our commitment to working with communities towards a safer environment,” said Stramrood. –

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