Eskom has issued a warning of a significant rise in network overloading as a result of increased illegal electricity activities in Gauteng due to dropping temperatures.
In a statement on Wednesday, Eskom appealed to the public to refrain from using electricity indiscriminately, illegally connecting to the grid, bypassing metres, and tampering or vandalising electricity infrastructure.
“Substantially high trends of energy demand are being recorded during peak periods in the mornings between 05:00 and 09:00, and again in the evenings between 17:00 and 22:00,” Eskom stated.
“Due to the rising number of illegal electricity activities such as purchases made from ghost vendors, illegal connections, and illegal operating, the electricity infrastructure is starting to fail.”
The result of this overloading is damage to cables, transformers, and mini-substations, Eskom said. This, in turn, puts strain on the repair and replacement of the failed assets.
Eskom warned that it would have to intensify load reduction to protect these assets from repeated failure and explosions. It will focus on high-density areas and those with multiple and/or backyard dwellings.
Customers identified as not purchasing or paying for their electricity service will also be disconnected. This forms part of Eskom’s credit management drive and proactively preventing the failure of these assets.
To avoid unnecessary disconnections and load reduction, Eskom urged customers to manage their consumption carefully, ensure that the electricity that they consumed was paid for and bought from legal vendors, and to report illegal activities.
“Those who continue tampering, or buying from illegal vendors will unfortunately be disconnected and will have to pay the full reconnection fees before they can be reconnected,” cautioned Daphne Mokwena, Eskom’s Gauteng operating unit senior manager for customer services.
The utility encouraged electricity users to switch of non-essential appliances such as heaters and geysers and use alternative heating methods to help it to provide electricity reliably during the winter.
Illegal electricity activities can be reported to Eskom’s crime line on a phone call to 0800 112 722 or via an SMS to 32211.
— Eskom Hld SOC Ltd (@Eskom_SA) May 5, 2021