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Bay lost over R1-billion in electricity over the past three years - report

Jun 4, 2020
Bay lost over R1-billion in electricity over the past three years - report

Port Elizabeth - The Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality has lost over R1-billion in revenue from electricity theft and technical losses over the last three years, up to and including February 2020.

"This was revealed in a response to a parliamentary question by the MEC of COGTA, Xolile Nqatha," said Vicky Knoetze (MPL), DA Eastern Cape Shadow MEC for COGTA.

"The Democratic Alliance is calling on Nelson Mandela Bay to put a plan in place to eradicate illegal connections, and improve maintenance, to prevent further revenue losses.

"The only way to do this is by ensuring that there is an efficient and effective plan to roll out legal connections to informal users, as part of a formal power strategy for the city."

Knoetze said that this strategy could include:

  • the use of alternative energy solutions such as solar (off-grid) and wind power especially in the effort to connect informal users,
  • the use of spider web connections (1 pole with 4 users connected which includes meters),
  • Metered connections in informal areas,
  • The rollout of tamper-proof meters, and
  • an amnesty period for users that have meters that have been tampered with

"Losses of electricity may be classified as technical and non-technical losses.

"Non-technical losses occur due to incorrect billing, no meters or defective meters, tampering as well as illegal connections/energy theft which is the largest contributor of non-technical losses," she described.

"The non-technical losses made up nearly two thirds of revenue lost, totalling over R 634 million over the past 3 financial years. The fact that they have grown year-on-year is indicative that there is no working plan in place to eradicate illegal connections in NMBM.

"Technical losses accounted for over R406 million in the past 3 financial years. This is losses that result from energy being dissipated by the equipment such as conductors and distribution lines.

"While technical losses are inevitable, the losses experienced by Nelson Mandela Bay could be considered excessive and possibly point to poor maintenance."

Knoetze added that technical losses can be reduced by ensuring regular inspections and continuous maintenance of electricity infrastructure as well as supplying high energy consumers directly from feeders.

"The NMBM must ensure that a programme is in place to regularly inspect, maintain and repair electricity infrastructure and ensure innovative measures are taken to prevent technical losses.

"It is also imperative that the strategy includes a detailed plan of the inspection, maintenance, replacement and upgrade of existing electricity infrastructure, which is up to 40 years old in places," Knoetze said.

"Just imagine what the city could have done with the R 1 billion in revenue that was lost!"

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