Eskom will continue its drive to expose, arrest and prosecute perpetrators at the forefront of electricity theft.
A national survey was conducted to determine the level of awareness, attitudes to and beliefs about electricity theft.
While a staggering 96 percent of South Africans believe that electricity theft is wrong, only 16 percent believe that they will get caught. A mere 14 percent believe that they will be prosecuted if caught.
In spite of the low percentage of people who believe that they will be prosecuted for stealing electricity, Eskom is making steady progress against this scourge through Operation Khanyisa, a national campaign aimed at promoting the legal, safe and efficient use of electricity.
Operation Khanyisa has helped reduce Eskom’s losses from 7,12 percent to 6.43 percent which translates to R1,4 billion savings every year in electricity that Eskom would have generated at a loss.
R618 million in revenue for Eskom has been recovered and perpetrators at the forefront of this crime have been brought to book. The revenue comes mainly from the billing of historic lost electricity consumption as well as fines and reconnection fees paid.
Eskom’s Energy Losses Management Programme took a more stringent approach in the fight against electricity theft when it combined meter auditing, investigation and enforcement with customer education and awareness in an integrated roll-out targeting hot spot areas with high levels of energy and revenue loss. This approach has resulted in the arrest of 50 electricity theft suspects and the opening of 26 court cases.
Under reported crime
Electricity theft remains one of the most under reported crimes in spite of the fact that the country loses at least R20 billion a year to electricity theft, three quarters of which is due to losses suffered by municipalities.
Forms of electricity theft
Forms of electricity theft include illegal connections, meter tampering and bypassing, buying and selling of illegal prepaid power vouchers through stolen or ghost CDUs, infrastructure theft, and non-payment.
Eskom continues to put in place numerous strategies aimed at combating energy losses. These include removal of illegal connections, subsidising low-income customers, tamper fines, as well as replacements of faulty meters as part of the its maintenance and refurbishment programmes.
Since October 2010:
- 120 arrests
- 19 760 tipp offs received
- 87 court case convictions
- 24 837 door-to-door engagements
- More than R492 million has been recovered
- 124 539 disconnections
- 310 temporary jobs have been created
Eskom urges people to keep on reporting electricity theft anonymously to Crime Line on 32211 at R1 for an SMS.