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An Eskom worker checks power lines. Picture: MARIANNE SCHWANKHART
An Eskom worker checks power lines. Picture: MARIANNE SCHWANKHART

Eskom says the high number of incidents of electricity equipment failure has put a strain on its ability to replace and restore supply to affected areas across Gauteng.

The power utility said it was experiencing challenges with limited stock levels of mini-substations and transformers because of an exponential amount of failed electricity equipment due to network overloading.

According to Eskom, the network overloading is caused by illegal connections, meter bypassing and tampering, unauthorised operations on the network, infrastructure vandalism and theft, as well as nonpayment and non-purchasing of legal electricity tokens.

“Though we are faced with the challenge of equipment shortages, the manufacturers have committed to continue to prioritise Eskom as they understand the impact this has on Gauteng as the economic hub, essential services and communities in the province,” said Mashangu Xivambu, senior manager for maintenance and operations in Gauteng.

The power utility said it had successfully replaced and repaired 116 of 181 damaged mini-substations to date, and 1,326 of 2,314 transformers at a cost of R152m.

However, it said it remained faced with high demand for equipment that required repair or replacement, making it difficult to meet demand.

The utility said that adding to the delay, and a major concern to Eskom management, were the frequent and increased number of road closures and protests that delayed entry into areas where work needed to be conducted.

Xivambu said access to their offices was often blockaded, and employees were sometimes assaulted, intimidated and, in extreme situations, held hostage by community members.

“This harassment and intimidation is also being experienced by our employees while driving and operating across the province. The safety of Eskom employees is our number one priority. We will withdraw our services in areas where their safety is compromised. We have reported these cases to law-enforcement agencies for further investigation.”

TimesLIVE

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