After City Power spent an estimated R188 million last year on replacing stolen service cables, the power supplier now says it can no longer foot the bill for replacing these cables.
The service cables connect street poles to houses.
According to art. 21 of the NRS Standard bylaws, the owner of a property is responsible for applying for the installation of a service cable. The service cable is then also installed at the cost of the owner.
“Communities must work together to protect the cables and other infrastructure from theft and vandalism. This reminder is necessary as we find ourselves under increasing pressure to replace stolen service cables free of charge,” says Isaac Mangena, spokesperson for City Power.
“City Power can no longer pay for the replacement of the cables as we need to cut our costs and use the resources to focus on our core business. The money spent on replacing the cables could have been spent on essential equipment and infrastructure such as mini substations, which cost around R700 000 each.”
Mangena says the astronomical amount spent on service cables last year underlines the problem of service cable theft in the city.
“The problem is further highlighted by our raids to get rid of illegal connections in informal settlements where hundreds of tons of service cables are recycled.”
In a recent raid in the Motsoaledi informal settlement, City Power seized 50,000 kg of service cables which are often stolen from paying homeowners and aluminum bundle cables which are often stolen from street poles. Both are used for illegal connections.
Other hotspots include Alexandra, Fleurhof, Tshelisong, Princess, Lenasia, Eldos, Pennyville, Matholeville and Vlakfontein, among others.
“City Power also points out that it finds it difficult to keep up with ongoing vandalism with the demand not only for service cables, but also for other infrastructure, including transformers, connections and mini-substations.
“While City Power is doing its best to invest in private security and work with law enforcement agencies, we believe the solution lies with communities trying to secure infrastructure, especially within their private properties. This can be done using resources such as patrollers, community policing forums, neighborhood watches and the local police.
“We call on the communities to organize themselves and work with us to curb the destruction of infrastructure.”