Eskom restores transformers to communities that have been in the dark
Gauteng provincial government has intervened to speed up restoration of transformers which have been damaged
The Gauteng provincial government has intervened on behalf of millions of residents in a few townships to get Eskom and City Power to replace damaged transformers which have kept communities in the dark for a long time.
On Tuesday, Gauteng premier Panyaza Lesufi officially launched the initiative in Swaneville, in Kagiso on the West Rand, where Eskom had begun installing new transformers.
Transformers in some of the townships explode or malfunction due to illegal connections and overload flowing from high demand.
Due to the high cost of replacing transformers, Eskom requires householders who have illegally connected pay a penalty of R500 per household. When 60% of the people getting power from a transformer have paid, Eskom replaces the transformer.
Lesufi said 41 transformers will be replaced in Kagiso alone.
The installation of each transformer costs about R500,000 including labour, cables and the new smart meters that go with the transformer to curb illegal connections and the purchase of electricity from unauthorised vendors.
“I have asked the police, law enforcement agencies and police wardens for a patrol van that passes it every 30 minutes, so that we don’t put one in today and the next day it is taken away.
“We ask that no-one tries to connect illegally. We have asked the municipality that anyone who needs electricity must be connected legally,” Lesufi said.
There are 2.5-million people who are without electricity in the province due to transformers that have been damaged. The most affected areas are Kagiso, parts of Soweto and Orange Farm.
Lesufi said local government will redo its indigent list to determine those who cannot afford to pay for the new metered electricity and they will be helped. assisted.
“We are going to link the indigent list with banks, Edgars, home affairs, Sars and the department of employment & labour. The day you get a job, we will find out and you will have to pay for the electricity you get. Those that are poor must be supported and those can afford must not hide behind the poor,” Lesufi said.
Provincial government has given Eskom three weeks to replace all the damaged transformers in Kagiso. For the rest of the province, Eskom has been given until before Christmas.
“Provincial government has obviously put pressure on us to meet their timelines. We had given them until March [next year] but we are trying to make sure that there are more resources available to try to make sure that we push as much as we can.
“At the moment we have committed that we will make sure that we replace 11[transformers] per week. As things progress, we will provide updates as to how far we have gone,” said Eskom Gauteng spokesperson Amanda Qithi.
When installing the new transformers, Eskom will start with the communities that have met the 60% threshold of payment.