Illegal electricity connections are claiming the lives of many South Africans and causing power outages throughout the country.
It is also costing Eskom millions in lost revenue.
“Our main concerns are that illegal connections are dangerous and often result in serious injury or even death. It also causes overloading of the network, which results in unplanned outages, which affect the smooth operating of the traffic lights, as well as life sustaining equipment at hospitals,” said the power utility.
Eskom added that unplanned power outages affect the quality of electricity supply, which in turn affects investment and ultimately the economy of the country.
“Despite numerous educational sessions and the removal of dangerous wiring, illegal connections still continue to be a problem,” said Eskom, adding that it would continue with its educational drives.
The theft of electricity also adds to the energy crisis facing the country.
“To an extent it does put pressure on the energy crisis in the country in that those who are stealing electricity are robbing the utility of its potential revenue. Generally when you do not pay for something, you are inclined not to use that thing sparingly. The same can be said for those who are stealing electricity."
According to Eskom, illegal electricity connections are a serious problem affecting power utilities all over the world.
Eskom said it would continue working with communities to find a solution.
It has also warned about the dangers of repurposing gas or paraffin appliances to be powered by electricity, puting lives at risk. One of the most common ways of repurposing is converting a gas cooker into an electrical powered cooker.
“Converted cookers and heaters aren’t fitted with the correct electrical cabling and insulation, they have exposed cabling and aren’t wired correctly, meaning they can easily overheat or shock those using the appliances,” said Eskom’s Operational Manager Alex Stramrood.
“We encourage people to spend a little extra money on approved electrical appliances from reputable suppliers in order to reduce the risk of malfunction and the chance of fires, shocks and other injuries,” he added.