South African power utility Eskom has announced they are ready to resume with operations to replace failed transformers in Ivory Park, Johannesburg.

The assets’ failure is due to illegal connections and meter bypasses, which resulted in network overloading. 

Eskom met with Ivory Park councillors, officials from the City of Joburg and the taxi association on Thursday, 1 August 2019 in an effort to enable Eskom technicians to work safely in the area.

However, the meeting collapsed as there was no agreement reached on the process to engage the community. 

“We would like to urge the community of Ivory Park to collaborate with Eskom to adequately deal with this matter by allowing us access to the area so that we can conduct audits, remove illegal connections, disconnect bypassed meters and issue fines for the contraventions. The intention for the preceding activities is to avoid the repeat of damage to the equipment and electricity network,” says Motlhabane Ramashi, Eskom’s operations and maintenance senior manager in the Gauteng Operating Unit. 

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According to the utility, it has a schedule and a plan in place that outlines how and when the replacements of failed equipment will be executed.  

The parastatal said in a statement that the process is consistent with its operations, which applies throughout Eskom Gauteng and will not be deviated from.

The utility said that it is not in a position to continuously replace failed mini-substations and pole-mounted transformers in areas where the residents are not paying for their electricity.

Non-payment of electricity does not only impact on the security of supply for paying customers but also contributes to increased energy and revenue losses coupled with increased operational costs.

This is not sustainable and not in line with Eskom’s revenue management practices. The non-payment further frustrates efforts to improve on Eskom’s financial and operational objectives. 

The community of Ivory Park, surrounding areas, and others in similar conditions in Gauteng are urged to collaborate with Eskom to ensure supply is restored and paid for. 

“Eskom employee safety will take priority at all times and the community can assist by submitting a written commitment to Eskom guaranteeing its staff safety and non-interference while they perform their work,” concluded Ramashi.