Pretorians warned of deadly illegal electricity theft

Illegal electricity connections prevalent in Soshanguve pose a fatal danger to communities.

Pretorians have been urged to desist from making illegal electricity connections and electricity and equipment theft.

Eskom occupational health operations manager, Alex Stramrood, said at the National Electricity Safety week launch in Winterveldt recently, connecting to the electricity grid illegally was very dangerous and risked the life of residents.

He said a connection was illegal if made to the Eskom network without its permission.

He said this ranged from connecting to a mini-substation to a neighbour electricity DB board or meter.

“We have identified that the biggest contributors to electrical accidents, injuries and fatalities are low-hanging, unsafe connections, vandalism, illegal connections and cable theft,” Stramrood said.

ALSO READ: Eskom on drive to curb illegal connections in Tshwane

During the week Eskom officials would visit various parts of the country, including Winterveldt, Soshanguve, Mabopane and Ga-Rankuwa, where illegal connections were rife, to educate residents on safe electricity use and inform them of the risks of illegal connections.

“The residents and businesses regularly connect to the Eskom network illegally. Not only is this dangerous for the individual making the connection but also puts the rest of the community at risk,” said Stramrood.

He said residents could report unsafe electricity connections via 08600-375-66 or 0800-112-722 and electricity theft via SMS to Crime Line on 32211, which was anonymous and cost only R1/SMS.

“We have found that most people understand that connecting illegally can be dangerous but they continue to use illegal connections. That is why we are travelling across the country to educate people regarding the potential risks,” Stramrood said.

ALSO READ: NEWSFLASH: 11-year-old north girl shocked to death

Recently, a 13-year-old girl was killed electrocuted in Soshanguve extension 13 when she tripped over a live illegally connected wire.

Stramrood said untrained people did insulated electrical connections hence the danger of electrocution to children, animals and even adults who came into contact with the exposed wires.

He said Eskom believed that the only way to truly eradicate electricity theft was through a coordinated effort between the electricity supplier and residents.

“To protect the children, Eskom encourages parents to ensure their children: avoid playing near power lines or substations,” he said.

He said kids should avoid flying kites near power lines.

“If a kite gets stuck in a power line, do not try to retrieve it; you could get hurt.”

 

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  AUTHOR
David Matsena

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