Newcastle to experience load reduction due to illegal connections

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Eskom is intending to implement load reduction during peak hours in KwaZulu-Natal. This is to curb damage to infrastructure caused by illegal connections.

Newcastle, Madadeni, Osizweni, Drycut, Massondale, Palermo and Dannhauser will all be affected by the impending load reduction.

Eskom explains there is a significant rise in network overloading around the province, as a result of illegal connections and bypassed meters.

According to the power utility, these illegal activities on the Eskom network result in damage to the electricity infrastructure, through explosions in overloaded transformers and mini-substations. This, in turn, is a danger to property and people in the affected communities.

Therefore, the power utility says it has a duty to protect its electricity infrastructure, and to limit the unnecessary losses.

Eskom will, therefore, switch off overloaded networks during peak periods. This is to protect the network and for the safety of the public.

“Power will be switched back on after the peak loading period, or when it is safe to do so. This is in line with the electricity operating code,” Eskom said.

Furthermore, if any of Eskom’s infrastructure is damaged due to illegal connections, to protect the network, the public and its infrastructure, Eskom will only replace the transformer once the illegal connections have been removed and it is safe to energise the area. This is in accordance with the Occupational Health and Safety Act.

However, this will result in communities staying for days without electricity; as parts and resources are not always available. “The replacement of a 20 MVA power transformer costs anything between R100 000 and R7.3 million, which is untenable,” Eskom said.

Eskom also urges communities to help manage the load. They can do this by switching off appliances such as heaters, stoves and geysers when not in use; and to only use these when absolutely necessary. This is to help stabilise the network at a local level.

Eskom has requested residents do not log a fault during this period and to treat all installations as live.

What are your thoughts on the intended load reductions? What steps do you feel Eskom should take to minimise illegal connections? Share your views and opinions with us in the comment section below.

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