On Friday, Eskom’s acting CEO issued a public apology to the residents of Johannesburg-based township Soweto, who were disconnected from the national grid for an estimated 10 hours on Friday 8 May.
Brian Molefe said: “First and foremost, on behalf of Eskom, I would like to personally apologise for the inconvenience that most customers have had to endure due to load shedding and other technical failures.”
He added: “Last Friday’s prolonged power outage in Soweto was caused by a combination of two unrelated factors, namely load shedding and some of our power distribution networks battling to cope with the huge electricity demand. We value our customers and commit to improve our turnaround times so that we can better serve all our five million customers around the country.”
The power utility extended its appreciation to the South African National Civic Organisation (SANCO) and the Johannesburg-based political party African National Congress for articulating their concerns about the recent prolonged power outages in Soweto in a calm and collected manner.
Eskom claims that the demands clearly indicate that SANCO and its alliance partners are willing to work with the utility to find a lasting solution to the electricity issues that face the country.
Molefe commented: “We welcome the fact that SANCO and its alliance partners would like us to roll out education and awareness campaigns about the benefits of prepaid meters, and that they would like us to provide prepaid meters to tenants who live in rented backrooms so that each tenant can pay according to their consumption.”
The current infrastructure upgrade in Soweto is aimed at achieving the following objectives:
- Assist in efficient utilisation of electricity
- Minimise the need for load shedding
- Reduce unnecessary unplanned power failures/outages (stable electricity supply)
- Assist customers to manage their electricity cost
- Reduce illegal connections and electricity theft (improved public safety)
- Stop the debt of ZAR4 billion ($338,582,367) from escalating further