State power utility Eskom has appealed to Gauteng residents to use electricity efficiently as it seeks to reduce overloading of its infrastructure this winter.
Eskom said it records trends of high electricity usage during peak periods in the mornings between 05:00 and 09:00 and in the evenings between 17:00 and 21:00, particularly during the winter period.
What to avoid
“To avoid unnecessary power failures, disconnections and load reduction, Eskom advises customers in the Gauteng province to refrain from illegally operating Eskom’s network, vandalising the electricity infrastructure, electricity theft through meters bypasses, meter tampering and illegal vending,” the utility said in a statement on Monday (11 April).
It added that these activities often result in severe injuries and fatalities while overloading the electricity network. They also damage cables, transformers and mini substations, causing prolonged power outages.
“We urge customers to collaborate with us in managing their consumption by switching off non-essential appliances such as heaters and geysers during the evening peak period, and to consider using alternative heating methods,” Eskom’s Gauteng Cluster Senior Manager for Customer Services Daphne Mokwena said.
“While continuing with work to sustain services, we will also intensify credit management, revenue collection and energy losses reduction efforts to ensure that we stay afloat to meet our financial obligations.”
Mokwena appealed to Eskom’s customers to play their part by paying for their electricity consumption. “Those found with contraventions such as tampering with the electricity infrastructure or buying from illegal vendors will be disconnected, terminated and even removed from the Eskom network,” she added.
Meanwhile, Johannesburg’s City Power said on Monday that the cold and wet weather over the weekend had caused widespread power outages across the city.
Areas affected included Alexandra, Bellevue, Bezuidenhout, Eldorado Park, Freedom Park, Houghton, Klipfontein, Lenasia, Lindhaven, Paarlshoop, Riverlea, Vlakfontein and Witpoortjie.
“Most of the outages are due to the overloading of the network due to the high demand of electricity because of the rainy cold weather. Other factors contributing to the increase in outages include cable fault, equipment failure and cable theft,” City Power said.
It added that it had deployed more resources, technicians and operators to the affected areas after receiving more than 2,000 calls from residents reporting power outages.
Eskom has managed to stave off load shedding for several weeks now. However, it publishes daily warnings that its power system is constrained, especially during the evening peak period.