In an effort to showcase Eskom’s “zero harm” agenda, the electricity supplier has been actively working in partnership with communities and their leaders to implement a culture of safe electricity usage within the Eastern Cape .
The Cofimvaba community , under Intsika Yethu municipality, was recently under a thorough investigation by invited media guests to see the extent of illegal connections and unsafe usage of electricity in the area. The community ,which has been closely monitored by Eskom officials alongside the municipality, has had a number of challenges regarding illegal practices within electricity connection.
The Eastern Cape has the second highest number of injuries and fatalities regarding illegal connections and unsafe outdoor and indoor practices.
Interventions to help decrease fatatlity and injury rate include replacement of damaged or failed equipment and in some cases upgrades the infrastructure, an approach that has proven not to be sustainable. Other interventions included the installation of protective structures, replacement of burnt fuses, retention of sagging conductors and load balancing on phases which are all expensive solutions.
As part of network maintenance all open pillar boxes are closed and damaged infrastructure is normalised.
Increased security measures to deal with fraud related to meter bypasses and conductor theft
The most effective solution is electrification but the township first needs to be proclaimed and money be made available for all other infrastructure as well.
“The focus within the Eastern Cape will be around education, we have already rolled out electricity awareness programs at surrounding schools, with the hopes that children will take the necessary information back to their homes. There will also be Electricity Safety events everyyear hosted by Eskomin all provinces which will be combined with constant monitoring and removal of illegal connections.”
says Roley Mcintyre ,Eskom Eastern Cape.
Rapid response on reports of low-hanging cables or damaged electrical infrastructure such as distribution boxes has also been an a focus .
“Telephone lines will be installed in townships and rural areas to promote quick reporting and access to immediate infrastructure repair.”
Social -TV was among the invited media guests to witness the steps that have been taken by Eskom and relevant stakeholders to create awareness and education to around the dangers of electricity.
Video footage to follow.