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ESKOM TAKES A STAND AGAINST ELECTRICITY THEFT IN BOHLOKONG AND THABONG IN THE FREE STATE
FRIDAY, 20 NOVEMBER 2020:  Over the past two days, Eskom has been auditing customer meters in the towns of Bohlokong and Thabong in the Free State.  Electricity theft is rife in these two areas and not only overloads the networks but also endangers the lives of adults and children in the communities.
 

Meter audits were done in Bohlokong outside Bethlehem on Thursday, 19 November 2020.
 
In Bohlokong near Bethlehem there is a strong indication of ghost vending in the area.  Ghost vending is the illegal buying and selling of prepaid electricity vouchers.  These vouchers are illegal because the money paid goes to the syndicates and not to Eskom who needs the revenue to maintain the electricity networks. Previous audits indicated that some of these homes have not bought any electricity over the past three months but are still consuming power.
 

During the audits in Thabong, this customer meter was found with 1 490 units although the customer only bought electricity worth R50.
 
In Thabong near Welkom, Eskom has found a large number of households that have bought zero units of electricity over the past few months.  A major issue in Thabong is the bypassing of electricity meters, which means that the meters register very little of the electricity consumed or none at all.  Eskom picks this up by monitoring consumption in areas and then comparing electricity sales to the amount of electricity consumed in the area. 
 
Says Lucas Mazibuko, Senior Manager Maintenance and Operations for Eskom in the Free State:  “In Bohlokong, there is one transformer close to exploding due to overloading and in Thabong there are two transformers being overloaded.  Replacing a transformer costs on average R80 000, which takes away funding from other critical maintenance on the networks.”
 
“Eskom has empathy for the many people suffering financially in these difficult times.  As such, we are educating communities on how they could apply for Free Basic Electricity (FBE) with their local municipalities and we share energy saving tips on various media platforms.  Unfortunately, Eskom cannot afford to keep the lights burning while millions of customers are not paying and others are damaging infrastructure,” Lucas concludes.
 
ENDS