Attending to Illegal Connections Poses a Danger to Energy Officials
The act of Illegal connections is not only an offence of bypassing the supply of electricity, it also poses a danger to officials that must attend to it.
Anxiety and fear of the unknown grip all members of the team each time they are dispatched to attend to an illegal electricity connection call. Verbal and physical assaults or even attacks on their vehicles by member of the community are some of the dangers they face in the line of duty.
Patricia Motsoko is a senior operations officer, specialising in low voltage maintenance in the City’s energy depot in Springs. Motsoko attest that every time they receive a call from the finance department to disconnect an illegal connection, residents who are caught connecting electricity illegally respond with violence.
“In most cases where we have been out to disconnect illegal connections our lives have been endangered. As a result, we now organise a team to go on site prior to assess the situation. We are lucky that law enforcement agencies accompany us when we carry out the work,” says Motsoko.
Winter season is peak time for illegal electricity connections by both business and residential customers.
The City’s Energy Department works closely with the Finance Department as well as the EMPD to remove illegal electricity connections. Customers who are at fault are issued with a fine depending on the nature of the offence.
For illegally connecting electricity on the municipal grid, a fine of R2 828.29 (excl VAT) is charged while a meter tampering fine amounts to R 2 882.74 (excl VAT).