The City of Ekurhuleni takes note of power interruptions in Thokoza and Phola Park largely due to illegal connections and meter bypass. The areas have a high rate of illegal connections by means of direct connection onto distribution pillars, streetlights and high mast lights which have resulted in about 63% of customers not buying electricity. This has consequently resulted in poor grid stability and grid sustainability, with a peak of electricity interruptions in winter months.
The City has deployed various interventions, among them replacement of smaller and accessible electricity poles with taller (13m) poles and installation of prepaid meters.
These measures have been met with fierce resistance by the community. However, considering the prohibitive costs of illegal electricity connections both to the City and other law-abiding citizens, these measures will continue.
The City replaces on average 15 faulty pole-mounted transformers yearly and mostly during May to August in the area.
The cost of repairs to cables, mini substations, pole mounted transformers, overhead lines, circuit breakers, fuses and substation equipment range between R 5 000 000 and R 7 000 00 per annum excluding refurbishment, revenue enhancement and network enhancement costs. This is in addition to over R60 million estimated loss of revenue due to bypassed electricity meters.
The City will continue with unannounced raids to disconnect illegal connections and stabilise the electricity supply in the area. A budget of about R46 million will be spent in the next financial year on the electricity infrastructure in the area.
The affected communities are urged to corporate with the City in isolating rogue elements who are spearheading illegal connections and community resistance to disconnections. The grid can only provide reliable supply if it is not tampered with or overloaded with illegal connections.
Member of the community can call the City’s Anti-Fraud and Corruption hotline on 0800 102 201 to report illegal connections.
The City runs an indigent programme for households that are unable to pay for their electricity as well as sufficient water, basic sanitation, refuse removal and supply of basic energy.
The benefits enjoyed by those who are registered on the indigent programme include the following free services:
* Water – 9kl
* Sewer – 9kl
* Electricity – 100kwh
* Refuse removal
* Property rates in line with newly adopted municipal property rates policy