Durban - Eskom has issued a warning to all its KwaZulu-Natal, residential and business customers to pay their electricity bills or face hefty consequences. 

The utility says plans have been put in place to disconnect and remove installations of customers who are not paying their bills and are stealing electricity.

KwaZulu-Natal’s General Manager, Monde Bala said Eskom is losing more than R5 billion a year due to non-payment and other forms of electricity theft. 

“Non-payment, meter tampering and illegal vending by our direct customers is causing Eskom to lose a lot of revenue. While illegal connections and other leading forms of electricity theft are common, non-payment has sharply increased and is taking root in many parts of the country.”

Bala and his team have embarked on a new way of investigating, which incorporates technical meter auditing, supported by criminal investigations and prosecution by law-enforcement agencies.

This, he says, has resulted in a large number of incidents of non-payment, meter tampering and illegal vending, as well as other forms of electricity theft, being uncovered in the province. 

Bala however revealed that Eskom KZN will be offering its prepaid customers a 50% remedial fee as an incentive when a customer comes forward to become a clean and legal electricity user. 

"This offer is given to customers whose meters have been tampered with; those who have not been paying for electricity; those who installed meters illegally and those who are buying illegal vouchers."

“For our province, should residential illegal electricity users not take up the offer and pay the discounted remedial fee of 50% during the period of 14 January 2019 to 31 March 2019, they could face disconnections, full debt payment, paying for new meters, possible arrests and prosecutions,” said Bala.