Bridged electricity meter blamed for deaths of electrocuted newly-weds
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Johannesburg - The deaths of newly-weds Nabeelah and Zaheer Sarang have been blamed on an illegal electricity connection
Due to tampering, there was no earth wire on the bridged meter. This caused a malfunction that led to the couple’s electrocution and subsequent deaths.
City Power said it had completed its preliminary investigation into the cause of the Sarangs’ electrocution in Crosby.
It is believed that Nabeelah collapsed in the shower after turning on the tap. Zaheer was electrocuted while trying to save her.
There were also allegations that they had made several reports to City Power about electrical faults at their home.
However, City Power spokesperson Isaac Mangena said they received a call from Zaheer’s father on Saturday that there was no electricity at the property.
He said they sent a technician to check and it was found that there was in fact power in the area. His power was restored.
“We did not get a call that electricity was shocking them,” he said.
Mangena said that after the couple died, City power went to the property.
He said the couple were living in a cottage on the property and Zaheer’s brother also lived in a backroom there.
Both outside properties, he said, did not have their own meters and were getting electricity from the main house. No one was paying for the electricity because the meter in the main house had been tampered with.
“City Power found that the meter was bridged and the earth wire was disconnected on the meter box which is inside the customer’s house.
“This confirms our earlier suspicion that our network could have been tempered with, leading to instability in the voltage.
“Further observation is that we suspect that the earth leakage on the customer’s box was faulty or tampered with, since the meter was tampered with during the bridging. If there was an earth fault, the earth leakage should have tripped instead of shocking the couple.
“Immediately where there is vandalism or tampering, there is malfunction already. We checked the meter and found that earth live (wire) was was not there. If it is not there, that creates shocks. You could touch a door and be shocked.
Mangena said the meter was vandalised as the family did not want to pay for electricity.
“They were not buying electricity after vandalising the meter and that can only be the reason why there was an electrocution.
“The newly-weds had a cottage at the back of the house. The cottage was connected from a cable going from the meter to the main house’s distribution box.
“Already, the meter and box were weakened without the earth wire. They connected on that and provided the newly-weds with a cable, and that’s what we think shocked the couple.”
City Power has since disconnected electricity to the property.
Mangena said the family would have to follow the reconnection process before power would be restored.
He also said the Mayfair and Crosby area was plagued by vandalism of the infrastructure, bypassing of meters, by both business and residential customers, and illegal connections.
“We urge residents to desist from tampering with electricity infrastructure, including bypassing our meters, vandalism and illegal connections which may lead to the circuit malfunctioning.
“Communities should also stop the illegality of paying people to work on our network. This is not only illegal in terms of the law, but also dangerous and interferes with the functioning of our circuit and customers may start experiencing in surges and equipment shocking them, or lower than normal voltage.
“We also encourage customers to test their earth leakage devices regularly,” Mangena said.