Jail or a whopping fine for meter tampering

He pleaded guilty to 14 charges of fraud and 10 of malicious damage to property.
He pleaded guilty to 14 charges of fraud and 10 of malicious damage to property.
Image: Mamela Ndamase / File

A man who tampered with electricity meters on farms in the Free State faces a grim choice – pay Eskom nearly R1-million or go to jail.

Gerhard Ferreira offered‚ for a fee‚ to “calibrate meters” for customers on farms in the Bothaville and Viljoenskroon regions.

He pleaded guilty to 14 charges of fraud and 10 of malicious damage to property.Last week‚ Ferreira was sentenced to 12 years in jail‚ suspended for five years‚ on condition he pay Eskom R921 830 in compensation for losses incurred by the power utility.

“Following a tip-off‚ Eskom approached the Hawks‚ who investigated the matter and eventually caught Ferreira red-handed on May 26‚ 2017‚” Eskom said in a statement.“Customers who had paid Ferreira for his illegal services were charged tamper fines totalling R229 000.”“Eskom customers are reminded to never allow anyone without an authentic work order form to do any work on an Eskom installation. In addition‚ Eskom will never ask for payments to be made into bank accounts other than the one specified on the customers’ official Eskom bills‚” Eskom said.

In June‚ TimesLIVE reported on a man who appeared in court for allegedly defrauding an Eastern Cape municipality out of R180-million by masquerading as an Eskom employee‚ installing devices to “reduce electricity consumption”.

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