Residents see red over their green boxes

Sibongile Mashaba

Sibongile Mashaba

Residents of Tshiawelo, Soweto, say they will not rest until Eskom listens to them and removes the newly installed pillar and meter boxes from their homes.

They complain that they are too costly and that the electricity supply is erratic and expensive to restore after it is disconnected.

But Eskom spokesman Norah Mmusi said there was no difference between the old meter boxes and the new ones.

"Thenew ones are housed in a solid box and the customers cannot gain access to the box in the event that they want to bridge the meter to stop it from counting how much electricity they are using," she said.

"The meter works the same as the old meter. A customer is charged the same tariff as before. The boxes and the meter are Eskom property and customers do not pay for installation."

She said people were consulted about their installation.

"This was after there had been several issues of power going off at night and illegal connections which pose a danger to innocent lives.

"Eskom did not cut any supply. Power supply in some streets went off due to some community members who vandalised the pillar boxes which supply these customers."

Called green boxes by Eskom, residents claim that they are required to pay R1000 to have them installed.

Abram Mowenda, of the South African Civics Organisation (Sanco), Tshiawelo branch, said: "Residents are spending a lot of money on electricity - more than on anything else."