Johannesburg – City Power on Wednesday embarked on an operation to cut off illegal connections in Motsoaledi informal settlement in Soweto.
“The settlement has been illegally connecting to our network thereby compromising the quality of our service and causing damage to our infrastructure,” said City Power Spokesperson Isaac Mangena.
“The operation marks the launch of our winter strategy to intensify cut-off operations in the City’s illegal connection hotspots.
“This is to relieve the pressure on the grid and to reduce the impact of overload and load-shedding on infrastructure.”
Mangena said the community of Motswaledi informal settlement has been unlawfully accessing City Power’s network through a mini substation that feeds the neighboring Motsoaledi RDP houses.
He said the connections have resulted in the mini-substation exploding and having to be replaced twice in the last six months, adding that replacing a mini-substation costs more than R800 000.
“In addition, the illegal connections disrupt our power supply to the area including the RDP houses and important institutions such as the Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital, private and public clinics in the vicinity, and the nearby military base which also has a hospital,” said Mangena.
“The illegal connections have regularly caused overload-induced trips in the system and as a result compromised electricity supply.”
Mangena said as winter creeps in City Power was concerned that the spike in electricity use will further compromise the service to our customers and essential services in the area.
“We have in the past embarked on similar campaigns in Motsoaledi; however, the community reconnects every time despite the dangers these illegal connections pose to their lives,” said Mangena.
“This drive is also to comply with a standing court order that the disconnections should be done every six months.
“During this operation an estimated 50 000kg of aluminum bundle conductor valued at an estimated R5 million was confiscated.”
The service cables are often stolen from paying households in areas such as Klipspruit West, Pimville, and Orlando. The ABC cables are stolen from streetlights.
Mangena said due to the dangerous nature of the operation it was carried out with the help of both the Metro police and the South African Police Service.
“We would like to thank the law-enforcement agencies for protecting the teams,” said Mangena.
“The law enforcement agencies will patrol the area to ensure that those reconnecting themselves and vandalising our infrastructure face the full might of the law.”