Eskom says it will continue to clamp down on illegal connections in residential estates, which result in a huge financial loss for the utility. Technicians working for the power utility returned to Waterfall, a suburb in the north of Johannesburg to conduct meter audits.
One resident will be expected to pay an electricity bill of more than R800 000, after not accounting for their electricity consumption.
Following previous meter audits conducted in residential estates in Waterfall, the power utility in Gauteng visited the area to assess current connectivity. This forms part of the utility’s energy management campaign, aimed at curbing financial losses.
These are mostly caused by illegal connections, meter bypasses, and the haphazard use of energy in homes, new developments or construction sites.
“What we are looking for basically is if customers have not bypassed their meters and if their meters are registered with us. We are looking for all those illegal connections that customers may have done, especially where in our system it doesn’t show whether the customer is buying and if it is a conventional meter, we are actually looking for those who have low KW numbers. If you look at this estate, you can see their houses are huge,” says Customer Services Senior Manager at Eskom Daphne Mokwena.
Some homes that were flagged for any suspicious activity, turned out to be vacant properties. Others generate their power through alternative types of energy.
Eskom recently identified several illegal connections in the estates. In one incident, technicians disconnected a customer who owed the power utility approximately R89 000 in electricity debt.
“One of the main customers owed us R89 000. We disconnected that customer three weeks ago. Today, we found that he has reconnected himself again. We have registered the matter with the police and we have fined him as well. There’s one not far from where we are standing who now, we have re-billed him R800 000 because he upgraded himself as well.”
In some cases, Mokwena says customers claim that instances of illegal connectivity are caused by private electricity technicians.
“We actually engaged with a customer three weeks ago and he claimed not to know that his meter was bypassed and his electrician was the one who helped him restore his supply. But those electricians are not supposed to work on our side of the supply. They are supposed to be working on the customers’ side of the supply.”
The power utility has clamped down illegal connections in Diepsloot:
Eskom in Gauteng says it will continue carrying out these operations throughout the remainder of the year. Customers are encouraged to report illegal connections and operations to their crime reporting line.