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Eskom records more infrastructure theft during coronavirus lockdown

Eskom on Friday said it had seen more theft and vandalism of its infrastructure during the lockdown.
Eskom on Friday said it had seen more theft and vandalism of its infrastructure during the lockdown.
Image: ESKOM

SA has been in national lockdown for just over a week, and Eskom said while it has been able to mostly keep the power on, it is being crippled by cable thieves.

The power utility issued a statement on Friday saying it had seen an increase in theft and vandalism of its infrastructure, particularly in Gauteng.

This would in turn affect the way in which Eskom would offer services.

“Eskom has unfortunately experienced power supply interruptions in recent days directly caused by illegal and theft-related activities,” the power utility said.

It would be working with the police to strengthen protection of the infrastructure.

“We call upon members of the community to take ownership of the electricity network infrastructure by safeguarding it and reporting any crimes, including illegal connections and meter bypasses, by calling the Eskom contact centre on 0860 037566 or the crime line number 0800 112 722,” the company said.

Earlier this week, Eskom said with the bulk of businesses closed, it had seen a decline in demand for electricity and would therefore use this time to “carry out important short-term maintenance of our generation infrastructure”. 

“To protect the integrity of the power system, Eskom has taken some generation units offline. From midnight on April 3, we will add Koeberg Unit 2 to these units, which are all available to return to service at short notice should the need arise. Koeberg Unit 2 is scheduled to return to service by April 30, if not called before then,” Eskom said.

The power utility said it had issued force majeure notices to independent wind- power producers (IPPs). 

“These notices serve to alert the wind IPPs of the possibility that Eskom may from time to time curtail their supply to the grid during the national lockdown. Should this remote possibility happen, the IPPs will be afforded one day's relief for every day, or part thereof, of lost production. This will ensure none of the wind IPPs are worse off than before the force majeure,” Eskom said.

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