Community Safety

Communities Urged to Stop Illegal Connections

There has been a notable increase in power outages across the City, largely due to illegal connections and meter bypass.

Areas experiencing power outages have a high rate of illegal connections through direct connection on to distribution pillars, street and high mast lights that result in about 63% of customers not buying electricity. This has consequently resulted in poor grid stability and grid sustainability, with a peak of electricity interruptions in winter months.

Affected communities are urged to cooperate with the City in isolating rogue elements spearheading illegal connections and community resistance to disconnections. The grid can only provide reliable supply if it is not tampered with, or overloaded with illegal connections.

The network overload is caused when too many people try to use a network designed for one household per stand. In addition, customers who are not paying for electricity tend to be wasteful in the way they use it. Circuit breakers are installed that switch off when the load gets to higher levels than the network is designed for, thus preventing the transformer from exploding. At times these safety features are bypassed and the transformer explodes – not only is this dangerous, but these transformers can take hours or even days to repair.

Residents and businesses regularly connect to the network illegally with makeshift connections. This is dangerous for the individual making the connection, and also puts the rest of the community at risk. These connections lie across pathways where anyone passing by can easily be electrocuted, and risk injury and death if they make contact with the connection.

Illegal connections and electricity theft cause unnecessary power failures/outages that overstretch the City’s resources slowing down service delivery to legal power users. Most people understand that connecting illegally can be dangerous, but continue to do so.

Safety tips

  • Do not pull out plugs by the cord. This damages the cable and can lead to electrical wires being exposed.
  • Do not put bare electrical wires into sockets.
  • Do not touch any electrical appliances with wet hands.
  • Never use electricity in the bathroom; water and electricity are a dangerous combination.
  • Do not pass electric cords from one room to another through hinges of doors or windows where they can be squashed or damaged.
  • Do not overload plug points.
  • Never leave electrical appliances unattended while in use.
  • Switch off heaters, stoves, and kettles when no longer in use.
  • Ensure that you purchase electrical products from reputable companies, distributers, and retailers.
  • Be extremely cautious when pruning vegetation grown inbetween high-powered electrical lines. Isolate the power supply first before pruning.

If your children play outside near power lines, warn them about the following:

  • Avoid playing near power lines or substations.
  • Do not fly kites near power lines. If a kite gets stuck in a power line, do not try to retrieve it; you could be hurt.
  • Never climb trees or other structures near power lines.

Residents are encouraged to report any illegal connection or suspicion of illegal connection activities through the municipal call centre on 086 054 3000.