100% access to electricity can be a reality
Eskom and municipalities are estimated to be losing R4.4-billion annually as a result of electricity theft.
With government losing large sums of money due to theft and non-payment, the target of 100% access to electricity by the end of this year seems a distant dream.
Soweto, for example, owed Eskom R2.8-billion in 2010, which was accumulated debt since the 1990s.
One method that has been proposed to curb the issue of electricity theft is the introduction of split meters – meters in residential areas are moved to a central place and each household receives a separate device to monitor their electricity usage.
Split meters are safer as vandalism is prevented, resulting in no exposed wires in residential areas. They are also cheaper – the annual R1.2-million spent on meter readers and billing can be avoided, and they offer reliability of supply.
Even though this seems the perfect solution to electricity theft and non-payment, split meters have been met with heavy resistance in certain areas, such as Soweto.
Only through education, communication and proper enforcement can the government start to win the fight against electricity theft and non-payment. The culture of non-payment needs to be addressed and people need to be educated about the effects this has on Eskom and local utilities.
Operation Khanyisa’s campaign aims to achieve this by encouraging behavioural change among all South Africans through creating high levels of awareness with billboards, radio and TV adverts, and campaigns but most importantly through education.