Transcribed by Yumna Moosa
Eskom has urged Soweto residents to allow them to install prepaid electricity meters, as resistance to this option could see the community being left in the dark this winter. The company made this call after its workers were threatened and beaten by community members as they installed the meters.
Speaking to Radio Islam, Gauteng Spokesperson for Eskom, Amanda Qithi, says residents have reacted in this manner as non-payment has become a norm in the area. Qithi says that “[Illegal electricity supply] overloads the network, which causes equipment failure. This affects our revenue as we are then forced to repair and replace equipment that has been damaged due to networks overloading.”
The spokesperson has also reminded all members of the public that the government has an initiative for free basic electricity that aids its customers who cannot afford it.
“If households show that they are unable to afford electricity and other services that are provided by the government, they can apply for free basic electricity. When they register, they can determine if they do fall under indigent households. They are then provided certain units for free to assist them.”
Soweto’s debt is currently at R4.5 billion. Prepaid electricity could see the community become mindful towards energy usage. Split meters also has the potential to reduce overloading of networks as each meters would be allocated for an individual unit.