Durban — Eskom has indicated that it has noted a rise in blown transformers due to overloading, resulting in electricity outages in several areas around KwaZulu-Natal.
The electricity provider said overloading occurred when more people consume electricity from a network than the capacity it was designed for, which is mostly due to illegal connections and tampering of meters.
Overloading the Eskom electrical network results in damages to electricity infrastructure through the explosion of transformers and mini-substations, as well as in prolonged unplanned outages. It also poses a great danger to people and property.
Eskom said that to protect its network infrastructure and to ensure the safety of the public, it implements load reduction in areas that experience network overloading.
“Illegal connections result in life-threatening situations, with innocent children often being the victims. Electricity theft also results in huge financial losses to Eskom as revenue lost to these illegal connections or bypassed meters is not recovered. This is over and above the losses suffered from equipment damage due to overloading,” Eskom said.
“To ensure the integrity of the network and the safety of the public in the event that Eskom’s assets are damaged or vandalised due to illegal connections, Eskom will only replace the transformer once the illegal connections have been removed. In addition, household meters will need to be audited to ensure that it is safe to reconnect. This will result in extended power outages for the communities.”
Eskom said that areas that have been heavily affected by electricity outages due to blown transformers include Madadeni and Osizweni, in the Newcastle area; Nseleni in Richards Bay; Umzinto in the South Coast; Bhamshela, Mpolweni, Swayimane, Imbali, Edendale, Vulindlela, Lions River, Lidgeton, Impendle, Richmond, and other areas in Pietermaritzburg.
Eskom’s general manager for KZN and Free State, Agnes Mlambo said: “The vandalism incidents have been reported to the police and Eskom appeals to communities of these areas to come forward with information that may help in apprehending perpetrators.”
“These ongoing criminal acts pose the biggest threat to reliable electricity supply. This results in widespread unplanned power outages, which leaves a negative impact on the economy, society, as well as on Eskom’s already burdened financial situation.”
Mlambo urged all South Africans to help combat infrastructure theft, vandalism, illegal connections, and other forms of electricity theft, by reporting any of these criminal activities to the Eskom crime line toll-free number: 0800 112 722.
Eskom also urged communities to get more information, education, and awareness about the problem of illegal connections, electricity theft and infrastructure vandalism – and how to combat it – by using the following contact methods:
- Eskom Website: www.eskom.co.za
- Alfred the Chatbot: alfred.eskom.co.za/chatroom/
- Twitter: @Eskom_SA
- Facebook: Eskom Hld SOC Ltd
- Eskom Contact Centre number: 086 00 ESKOM [0860 037 566]
- Eskom customer service email: [email protected]
- CSOnline web portal: https://csonline.eskom.co.za/
Meanwhile, on Wednesday morning, Eskom announced Stage 2 load shedding from 10am until midnight, due to a breakdown of four generation units on Monday contributing to capacity constraints.
Starting from Thursday, until Sunday night, Stage 2 load shedding will be implemented from 5am until midnight.
Eskom said there was a likelihood that the stage of load shedding might need to be increased during the evening peaks.