Soweto Eskom lockdown

(Photo by Gallo Images / Foto24 / Lucky Maibi)

Lockdown blackouts? Eskom threaten Soweto over ‘illegal connections’

Some regions could be left in the dark if their electricity goes out, as Eskom are fed-up of attending sites using ‘illegal connections’ in Soweto.

Soweto Eskom lockdown

(Photo by Gallo Images / Foto24 / Lucky Maibi)

It looks like Eskom are rolling up their sleeves and playing hardball with the citizens of Soweto – particularly those who are illegally sourcing their electricity. The power firm has stated that they will not be able to attend repairs in areas affected by ‘certain acts of criminality’, threatening to leave thousands in the dark during lockdown.

Eskom “won’t restore power” in places where illegal connections are found

The warning is a stark one from Eskom. They have detected a surge in energy usage in certain parts of Soweto. It seems that, despite lockdown regulations, some communities are increasing their access to meter bypasses and other forms of “electricity theft”. According to the utility:

  • There’s been a “significant rise in power supply interruptions” this week.
  • Eskom is blaming the issues on illegal connections, bypassed meters, and infrastructure vandalism.
  • They are struggling to supply power at peak times – between 5:00 – 9:00 and 17:00 – 21:00 each day.
  • The firm says that a number of their network maintenance problems are on hold during lockdown – and hinted they won’t be able to restore power in areas that are affected by illegal connections.

“It’s not financially viable”, claims senior manager

A senior Eskom manager in Gauteng has laid down the law with locals. He has made it clear that the organisation ‘will not be in a position to fix repeated network failures’ if they’re caused by overloading. Motlhabane Ramashi says that they won’t pursue something that’s not financially viable:

“It’s unfortunate that an increase in illegal connections, meter bypasses and other theft-related activities on our infrastructure has led to sporadic and prolonged electricity interruptions in recent days, in some parts of Soweto.”

“We will not be in a position to meet the needs for repeated network failures due to overloading as a result of illegal connections. This is not financially viable, and it puts further strain on critical resources during lockdown.”

Motlhabane Ramashi, Gauteng’s senior manager in Gauteng
  • You can read Gauteng Eskom’s full statement here: