By Neelam Rahim
Business organisation Sakeliga has sent a letter of demand to Eskom to stop applying illegal load reduction. Sakeliga is working with Agri North-West and TLU to halt the implementation of load reduction in the interest of affected members of three North West and Limpopo organisations. They are primarily farmers and small businesses in rural areas.
Joining the discussion with Radio Islam International, Sakeliga’a Tian Alberts said load shedding is a national programme of rotational power cuts across the country. Load reduction, on the other hand, is a relatively new practice that has emerged since November last year.
He says Eskom cuts power supplies to target electricity lines in certain provinces, which they claim to do to prevent damage to their network in high-density areas where many illegal connections are on the line.
According to Tian, rural agricultural farmers and small businesses are affected, not in high-density areas where Eskom alleges. This issue is that equipment tends to get damaged when there are unannounced power cuts in farming production processes. Production processes are halted, and there is a lot of food production going to waste. He added there is no good reason for this, and there is no legal reason for Eskom to do this.
Tian tells Radio Islam that by law electricity regulation act provides for a form of load reduction where they reduce the load but may never entail a complete cessation of a load as they were doing at the moment. They also need to give reasonable notice to affected customers, which is not being done consistently.
Meanwhile, Agri North-West members have been engaging with Eskom since last year regarding the affected areas. He said Eskom has been giving undertakings. Eskom needs to complete audits on some of the high-density feeding lines to determine where they are illegal connections and to reduce the network losses to an acceptable level.
He says Eskom has not come forward to do these audits as they have undertaken, and the idea is that they don’t intend to remove those illegal connections soon and subsequently not stop with this illicit reduction load soon.
Regarding the demand sent to Eskom, Tian said the illegal load reduction must stop immediately.
“We have given those ten days undertaking to stop with this. We also want an undertaking that they will complete these audits, which they have been talking about within three months and that’s is based on the timeline they have constructed. Lastly if they are going to reduce the load we want them to do that within the legal prescripts.”
Listen to the full interview on Radio Islam’s podcast below.