Eskom is increasingly using smart meters and data analytics to identify electricity thieves as it tackles a growing problem that, in the year to March, accounted for 7.55% of its energy losses from 6.19% in 2012-13. In January, a 15-month toddler was killed in his yard by an illegal electricity connection. In February, three people were electrocuted in separate incidents on the South Coast, apparently after stepping on exposed cables. In May communities around Gauteng protested in the streets about continued outages resulting from cable theft. These are some of the human costs of electricity theft. In financial terms, Eskom loses about R5.4bn of revenue a year and municipalities about R15.2bn from illegal connections, meter tampering, illegal sales of pre-paid electricity, theft of infrastructure and non-payment, Madeline Kadzinga, the marketing project manager of Eskom’s anti-electricity theft campaign, said at a media briefing in Germiston on Tuesday. Despite perceptions that elec...

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