Eskom is implementing power cuts over and above load-shedding to certain areas to minimise the burden placed on the grid by illegal consumers.
This was disclosed to MyBroadband following a complaint by a reader that they were receiving power cuts beyond those which had been scheduled as part of load-shedding.
The reader said residents of Midvaal, Drumblade, and Walkerville have suffered regular outages even when load-shedding was not meant to be taking place.
MyBroadband was also provided with an alleged schedule that Eskom used to enact these cuts that had not been made publicly available.
The reader said when they called an Eskom call centre agent, they were told that load-shedding was not meant to be taking place in these areas – and they knew nothing of the alleged “secret” schedule.
Eskom told MyBroadband that these power cuts are intentional, and are not part of load-shedding.
“This is not load-shedding, but rather an initiative aimed and protecting our assets by reducing load during peak hours,” said Eskom.
It said the cuts were aimed at reducing the load placed on its grid by illegal consumers.
“It costs Eskom a substantial amount of money to generate and deliver electricity to ‘illegal consumers’ during the peak periods, who indiscriminately use electricity and burden our ability to provide services adequately due to energy resources constraints,” Eskom said.
“Eskom’s immediate response is to reduce the costs associated with delivering electricity to ‘illegal consumers’, which is extremely expensive during peak periods.”
Eskom said this strategy was in alignment with its operational priorities.
“This is in line with our priorities of containing operational costs, plant performance, and collecting revenue for the services we rendered,” said Eskom.
“This is also in line with PFMA requirements to ensure that energy transported and utilised is accounted for.”
“More importantly, we have the responsibility to prudently safeguard our assets to ensure that they run efficiently, and in line with their designed capability.”
The reader who contacted MyBroadband stated that even though they are Eskom customers, they are feeling the effects of the power cuts – adding that they have received up to 12 hours of power cuts in a single day.
“Homes and businesses in our area are getting no reprieve. We are being abused and victimised.”
Eskom disconnects Soweto
Eskom has also disconnected various areas of Soweto due to non-payment.
These included Mapetla, Rockville, White City, Central Western Jabavu, and Dlamini.
Soweto owes Eskom R18 billion in electricity bills – up from R3.6 billion in 2014.
King Sibiya, a representative for Soweto residents, asked Eskom to give a breakdown of the R18 billion debt and said this figure is an estimation – as the power provider does not conduct meter readings in the area.
Sibiya also said Soweto residents signed a document in 1992 that households would pay a flat rate for electricity.
In response, Eskom said it had no knowledge of such a document.
“We have requested via our legal representatives to see the documents, but we are still waiting for it,” said Eskom’s senior manager of customer services in Gauteng, Daphne Mokwena.
“If I haven’t seen it, it does not exist.”
The interviews with both Sibiya and Mokwena are below.