“The high number of incidents of electricity equipment failure has put a strain on Eskom’s ability to replace and restore supply to the affected areas across Gauteng”, according to Eskom.

Eskom says that it is experiencing challenges with limited stock levels of mini-substations and transformers because of a recorded exponential number of failed electricity equipment due to network overloading.

The network overloading is caused by illegal connections, meter bypassing and tampering, unauthorised operations on the network, infrastructure vandalism and theft, as well as the non-payment and non- purchasing of legal electricity tokens, which is constantly on the rise.

Eskom has to date successfully replaced and repaired 116 out of 181 of the damaged mini-substations and 1326 out of 2314 transformers to the substantial total cost of R152 million.

However, the utility remains faced with high demands of equipment that require repairs or replacement, making it difficult to meet the demand.

Adding to the delays, which is a major concern to the Eskom management, are the frequent and increased number of incidents of road closures and protests which delay entry into areas where work needs to be conducted.

“Access to our offices is often blockaded, employees are sometimes assaulted, intimidated and in extreme situations, held hostage by some of the community members. This harassment and intimidation is also being experienced by our employees while driving and operating in the field across the province. The safety of Eskom employees is our number one priority, we will withdraw our services in areas where their safety is compromised. We have also reported these cases to the law enforcement agencies for further investigation”, says Mashangu Xivambu, the Senior Manager for Maintenance and Operations in Gauteng.

“Although we are faced with the challenge of equipment shortages, the manufacturers have committed to continue to prioritise Eskom as they understand the impact this has on Gauteng as the economic hub, the essential services and the communities in the province”, concluded Xivambu.

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