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Cape team combats electricity theft

by Luyanda Makapela
on 20 Apr 2008
BuaNews Online
BuaNews Online

The City of Cape Town has clamped down on consumers, who are tampering with electricity meters, which has helped in curbing the high rate of electricity theft in the province.

The city's electricity department's Revenue Protection Unit has been on the trail of those who tampered with electricity and bypass electricity metres - and has recovered R10 million each year as a result of the initiative.

Neil Ballantyne, who heads the Revenue Protection Unit said the total system losses were currently running at 9.3 percent.

"The technical losses on a predominantly cable network are in the order of 6 percent which means that the loss due to tampering and by-passing is in the order of 3.3 percent.

"In comparison with the current figures, we are doing very well in combating tampering and bypassing," said Mr Ballantyne.

He added that the detection and rectification of tampering and bypassing meters, and the recovery of cost previously unpaid for electricity consumption indirectly benefited all the city's electricity consumers.

"The city has to pay Eskom for all electricity consumed. If we do not receive payment for the consumption that is stolen, our electricity tariffs need to be increased to recover the cost of this stolen electricity and as a result, every electricity user is affected," Mr Ballantyne explained.

Councillor Clive Justus, Chairperson of the City's Utility Services Portfolio Committee, said: "The theft of public property cannot be tolerated nor condoned.

"To this end the Revenue Protection Unit is authorised to identify, monitor and act where and when theft occurs."

Mr Justus said he supported the appointment of more members to the unit to further reduce financial losses.

"The copperheads under the leadership of Councilor Pieter Van Dalen are playing a significant supportive role in reacting to the theft of copper cable and other Council assets."

In March this year, Minister of Water Affairs and Forestry, Lindiwe Hendricks urged the public to save water and electricity as these were scarce resources that needed to be protected and conserved for future generations.

The minister, speaking at the signing of Memorandum of Understanding with Eskom at the time said the agreement on water efficiency in the power sector was aimed at building and strengthening a partnership with Eskom and will contribute to improved water security for the country.

Ms Hendricks said a culture of water conservation as well as energy saving was imperative for the country.

"We need to change the culture of wasteful use of these resources." - BuaNews

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