City of Joburg appeals to residents to report illegal connections [Sponsored]

City Power is calling on Johannesburg residents to report illegal connections anonymously.

FILE: Illegal electricity connection. Picture: Christa Eybers/EWN.

People who connect to the power grid illegally are stealing from the City of Johannesburg. Their actions are unsafe, dangerous and can lead to death. If caught, they face huge fines and jail.

Illegal connections are unfair for all paying residents whose power is constantly interrupted because of non-payers who overload the system and cause it to crash. Moreover, illegal connections destroy photocells that control streetlights. This contributes to a strain on the network as streetlights stay on all day.

Illegal connections also cause overloading on mini-substations and pole-mounted transformers which eventually explode.

Please report all illegal connections by calling 0800 002 587.

If you yourself are connected illegally to the power grid, think about this:

• illegal connections are unsafe. By connecting illegally, you are not only putting yourself at risk but the lives of children
• using electricity illegally is also selfish. You put those whose livelihoods rely on safe, stable connection at risk
• the electricity supply becomes unreliable and is often interrupted. This causes inconvenience to all the households and businesses that pay for their electricity, and
• finally, the City of Johannesburg loses the money owed to it for electricity, which impacts service delivery

City Power, the division of the City of Johannesburg that supplies electricity, is currently owed R1.2 billion by individual homes, businesses, residential complexes, churches and other institutions who connect to an electricity supply illegally. The City loses more than R2 billion each year in ‘non-technical losses’, which include illegal connections in suburbs and informal settlements.

There are many dishonest individuals who offer illegal connection services for a fee in poorer communities. They are criminals, and you should not deal with them.

If you are found guilty of stealing electricity by connecting illegally to the power supply, the penalties are severe. You will have to pay for the electricity you used (and did not pay for) for the time you bypassed an electricity meter. You will then also have to pay a reconnection fee, which could be as high as R11 000.000.

The City has put a number of measures in place to prevent illegal connections and has become much more sophisticated in tracking down illegal connections. These measures include:

• conducting operations to remove illegally connected customers, including large power users
• physically removing illegal connections
• installing Remote Access Terminals, which monitor tampering of pre-paid meters, and
• monitoring electricity consumption

As a last resort, City Power implements load rotation in areas that are experiencing repeated power outages as a result of overloading caused by illegal connections. This allows City Power to do repairs and maintenance on those parts of the network that have been damaged by vandalism and illegal connections.

Please report illegal connections. You can remain completely anonymous, but you would be doing your neighbours, the businesses in your area and the City an enormous service.

Please help us by keeping your eyes and ears open. Help us to keep the power on.

For anonymous reporting, please call 0800 002 587 or visit www.joburg.org.za for more information.