City Power cuts illegal electricity connections in Rabie Ridge
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Johannesburg - City Power officials, flanked by police and soldiers, descended to Rabie Ridge, Midrand on Wednesday morning and disconnected illegal electricity connections that had been powering shacks and houses in the area.
City Power spokesperson Isaac Mangena said the illegal connections had caused unplanned outages that had become a source of frustration for Johannesburg residents recently.
The City of Johannesburg had recently apologised to residents for the power cuts that came in the middle of winter.
Mangena said a team of private and plain clothed security will remain in the area to ensure that illegal reconnections were not made. He also said the metro police and the Rabie Ridge SAPS would continue to patrol the area.
"In the past we used to have communities protesting and setting our substation on fire so we will have teams that will be stationed at the substations for this week.
"We are aware that some many want reconnect as they normally do but what we have done today has dampened their operations because have confiscated all the cables that they use during the connections.
"Those are the very same cables that were stolen from street lights and then used to connect to electricity illegally. We are confident that they wont be able to do the re connections any time soon.
"We are going to intensify the operations on illegal connections purely because they are inconvenience to those who are paying for electricity as well as businesses, especially small businesses."
Mangena said not only were illegal connections taking away much needed revenue as the City was suffering the effects of losing millions but that they were also endangering people's lives.
"In the are where we are doing disconnections, there were two people who were electrocuted including a child," he said.
On Tuesday, a mini-substation blew up and caught fire in Alexandra. City Power said that was due to illegal connections.
The power utility said that was the fourth mini=substation to burn in Alexandra since the beginning of June
Mangena said there were also plans to disconnect illegal connections in other parts of the City that were seen as hotspots such as hostels.
He also said Lenasia was bearing the brunt of illegal connections.
"Lenasia has got mushrooming informal settlements that are not electrified so most of then tap in our network and that's why we suffer. We also have areas in Roodepoort where we are having illegal connections problem and we have been conducting operations like this there," Mangena said.