South African National Civic Organization, the African National Congress (ANC), the South African Communist Party and Congress of South African Trade Unions on behalf of Soweto residents marched from Orlando to Eskom offices in Diepkloof after Soweto had no electricity for more than 12 hours last week friday.728 Picture: Matthews Baloyi 2015/04/14

Johannesburg - Eskom’s acting CEO Brian Molefe has apologised to the residents of Soweto for a prolonged power outage last week which led to a community protest.

In a statement issued on Friday, Molefe said: “First and foremost, on behalf of Eskom, I would like to personally apologise for the inconvenience that most customers have had to endure due to load shedding and other technical failures. Last Friday’s prolonged power outage in Soweto was caused by a combination of two unrelated factors, namely load shedding and some of our power distribution networks battling to cope with the huge electricity demand. We value our customers and commit to improve our turnaround times so that we can better serve all our 5-million customers around the country.”

Molefe said Eskom welcomed the peaceful manner in which the South African National Civic Organisation (Sanco) and the ANC Joburg Region articulated their concerns about the recent prolonged power outages in Soweto during a protest on Thursday, and said their demands clearly indicated that Sanco and its alliance partners were willing to work with the utility to find a lasting solution to the electricity issues facing the country.

“We welcome the fact that Sanco and its alliance partners would like us to roll out education and awareness campaigns about the benefits of prepaid meters, and that they would like us to provide prepaid meters to tenants who live in rented backrooms so that each tenant can pay according to their consumption,” said Molefe.

Molefe added that the current infrastructure upgrades in Soweto were aimed at assisting in the efficient utilisation of electricity, minimising the need for load shedding, reducing unnecessary unplanned power failures/outages, assisting customers to manage their electricity costs, reducing illegal connections and electricity theft and to stop the area’s debt of R4 billion from increasing any further.