Harsh action as electricity theft costs R7.5bn a year

Harsh action as electricity theft costs R7.5bn a year

A statement from Eskom on Monday said aggressive action was being employed in the fight against electricity theft, which was costing the state-owned electricity provider and municipalities an estimated R7.5 billion a year.

File photo: Gallo Images

The problem of electricity theft is an international one, according to Eskom, and accounts for 1 percent of all electricity consumed globally.

The statement added that India lost up to 33 percent of all electricity generated. It put the cost of electricity theft in the U.S. at an estimated $6bn annually while the UK lost an estimated £299 million per annum to gas and electricity theft.

Eskom said action being taken in South Africa included intelligence-driven investigations by the Hawks division of the South African Police Service and the handing down of sentences of up to 15 years and large fines.

Electricity theft includes illegal connections, meter tampering and bypassing, illegal prepaid power vending, cable and infrastructure theft, and non-payment.

Eskom said a number of people had been charged in recent week after being found in possession of materials including overhead lines, transformers and pylon support lattices.

The company added that the value of material stolen was indicative of organised, syndicate-driven criminal activity. - ANA

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