Izinyoka ‘drain the grid’
Enoch Mgijima struggles to keep lights on as heaters burn all night
Winter is not coming in Komani – it has arrived with a vengeance, and the power drain has the municipality alarmed.
It is not so much that residents are reaching for their heaters, said Enoch Mgijima municipal spokesperson Butsha Lali. It is the people who are illegally connected to the grid, because they power up their heaters and leave them burning all night.
The municipality’s system is being overloaded as a result, Lali added. In a statement on the municipality’s official Facebook page, it says heaters and “foreign objects” were to blame.
“One of the contributing factors, besides the insufficient infrastructure, is a serious challenge of tampering,” Lali said.
“People are stealing electricity. We are trying to deal with this. Some people are connecting devices that lead to tripping and overloading, and it’s a loss of revenue. They do not know there are consequences.”
He said: “We keep engaging our residents through social networks and other communication avenues so that people can become aware that we have problems. We are also visiting households to check for those who are tampering but it is not easy. People do it all the time.”
Mlungisi township community leader Sidima Tyokolo said: “There are also people in the suburbs and in town who steal electricity. They have also increased the cost of electricity.
“I get very few units for R100 electricity and that does not even last us for a month.”
People illegally connected to the grid were having a power party and causing all the trouble, he said.
“It is the izinyoka, the people who are stealing electricity who have their heaters on throughout the night. People who buy electricity would never do that because that would finish the units quickly. I gave away my heater because I saw just how much electricity it was using.”..