Eskom has appealed to communities to be proactive in preventing illegal connections, which is the primary cause of the failure of transformers and mini-substations. Picture Henk Kruger/African News Agency (ANA)

Johannesburg - Eskom has appealed to communities to be proactive in stopping illegal connections, as well as the destruction, theft and meter tampering it says have increased equipment failures in some areas especially in Gauteng. 

The power utility says illegal connections, leading to overloading, are the primary cause of the failure of transformers and mini-substations. "This is exacerbated by meter tampering, electricity theft and vandalism of infrastructure," Eskom said in a statement on Wednesday. 

"Increased equipment failure has a significant negative impact on our operations, finances and safety of our employees and the public," it said. 

Eskom said it had decided not to restore power to areas that have repeated failures due to illegal connections, meter tampering and bypassing.

"Eskom will only restore supply to legal and paying customers in the areas, on condition that the community allows safe access to Eskom staff to conduct audits and remove illegal connections," it added. 

Eskom said that if audits could not be conducted, it would not be able to deal with the root causes and ran the risk of continued failures. "In some areas, Eskom technicians have not been allowed to conduct these audits which result in repeated failures of equipment making power restoration a wasteful exercise. "

Eskom said it had consulted extensively with customers and stakeholders across Gauteng province to resolve issues pertaining to electricity services. 

“Eskom will continue to engage with councillors in all affected areas to deal adequately with these issues. Furthermore, Eskom would like to affirm its commitment to collaborate and engage with various communities to find solutions so that we can resume with our services,” Group Executive for Distribution Monde Bala said. 

"I thank and applaud paying customers for their continued commitment to paying for the services that they use," he said, while appealing to communities to report illegal connections and meter tampering including when Eskom employees were involved to the Eskom crime line number, 0800 11 27 22.

African News Agency/ANA