Eskom embarks on campaign on safe electricity usage

AUGUST 22, 2016

Public fatalities and injuries due to the unsafe use of electricity remains a major problem, especially in provinces like the Eastern Cape, Eskom said on Monday.

The power utility said that the majority of these incidents are related to contact made with electricity and illegal connections. Most disturbing is the fact that many of those killed or injured were children.

In an effort to reduce these public safety incidents, Eskom will embark on a week-long countrywide campaign, from 22 to 28 August, to educate South Africans about using electricity safely and responsibly.

"The major problem areas are the Eastern Cape, Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal and Limpopo provinces. During the annual Eskom National Electricity Safety Week, Eskom officials will be visiting certain parts of the country to engage with the public and highlight the dangers associated with the unsafe use of electricity," the power utility said.

The Eskom National Electricity Safety Week will kick off in Gauteng with the aim of making communities aware of the basics of safe electricity usage and the risks associated with electricity theft, meter tampering, bypassing and illegal connections.

“We occasionally get reports of people being injured or losing their lives as a result of the unsafe use of electricity. As Eskom, we want to get to a point where we eliminate all injuries and fatalities caused by electricity, hence we are going to the communities to ask them to help us in this fight.

"We are aware of the biggest causes of these incidents and would like to appeal to our consumers to assist us by avoiding connecting illegally or making contact with low-hanging cables,” says Jace Naidoo, Corporate Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Senior Manager at Eskom.

Through this campaign, Eskom also seeks to encourage all community members to report any unsafe conditions or connections they come across by calling 08600 ESKOM (37566). This includes any cases of dangerously exposed or low hanging cables, illegal connections, vandalism, cable theft etc.

“In the case of illegal connections, danger is posed not only to the people who connect to the Eskom network illegally, but also to the rest of their communities. Moreover, the illegal connections draw more electricity from the network than anticipated, which causes power failures and inconveniences to law abiding paying customers,” explains Naidoo.

Eskom said it is always advisable to get a qualified electrician to do any electrical connections or repairs.

Only authorised Eskom employees and contractors are permitted to work on all Eskom structures.