NATIONAL NEWS - The power utility said in the statement that electricity theft is still a major issue in the country and continues to increase due to illegal connections, meter tampering and illegal prepaid vouchers.
“The use of ghost electricity dispensers started in the early to mid-1990s,” read the statement.
“At first, it was an individualised crime. Over the years it has grown to a specialised syndicate crime. The possibility of ghost vending becomes apparent to Eskom as soon as there is a sharp decrease in the normal consumption of a customer or area,” said the utility’s distribution division group executive, Monde Bala in the statement.
“Buying from illegal vendors is seen as bypassing the meter. Due to the fact that Eskom is losing revenue, these cases can also be pursued as criminal cases in a court of law.”
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“If a customer is found buying illegal vouchers from a ghost vendor, they will be required to pay a minimum fine of R6 052,60 up to R30 000, depending on the size of the supply. Customers could even face prosecution,” said Bala.
“Citizens are urged to buy prepaid vouchers only from legal Eskom national vendors that have their footprint at supermarkets, petrol stations, spaza shops, ATMs, mini-markets or mobile apps and online banking.
“Do not be deceived or tempted on social media by unknown people promising big discounts for their purchases. Customers are urged to report suspected illegal incidents in their areas to the SMS crime line number, 32211 or call the Eskom contact centre on 086-003-7566.”
The utility said in a bid to achieve operational efficiency and sustainability, it will continue to implement revenue recovery initiatives. These include the curbing of illegal selling of prepaid electricity vouchers, or ghost vending as it is commonly known.
“These vouchers are illegal because the money paid goes to the syndicates and not to Eskom or the municipalities that need the revenue to maintain electricity networks,” said the statement.