Buffalo City Metro lost around R70m in electricity theft in a period of six months as a result of meter tampering and illegal connections.
This is according to BCM head of infrastructure Nceba Ncunyana, who presented a report to council last week.
As a result the metro is at risk of losing its electricity distribution licence, because this loss is far above the National Energy Regulator of SA’s (Nersa) standards. This was revealed by Ncunyana in an updated report tabled before the metro’s council last week, which looked at the metro’s electricity losses between July 1 and December 31 last year.
In the report Ncunyana said BCM had lost about R70m in collectable revenue for the six-month period through non-technical losses.
“This non-technical loss value can be attributed to the scourge of illegal electricity connections, database errors, metering theft or faults. The high escalation of non-technical losses can be attributed to the operations of a meter-tampering syndicate on business meters,” Ncunyana said in the report.
This non-technical loss value can be attributed to the scourge of illegal electricity connections, database errors, metering theft or faults.
The total electricity loss in rands was R116.1m for the analysed period.“Nersa have set a standard of 9% as an acceptable total loss on an electrical network. “Therefore the losses shown by BCM of 16.46% are unacceptable, and BCM are in contravention of Nersa licence conditions, which puts them at risk of losing their distribution licence,” Ncunyana said.
The illegal electricity connections that have contributed to the metro’s losses have killed a number of people, including children and elderly people. Data gathered over the five-year period from 2012 to 2017 reveals that more than 60 people have died as a result of these illegal connections.
“If serious and decisive action is not taken by the BCM council to halt the unchecked proliferation of illegal connections and illegal electrical networks onto the BCM electrical network, the number of associated electrocutions and deaths will increase,” Ncunyana said.
Speaking about the scourge of illegal connections, DA councillor Dinesh Vallabh said: “This is really a matter of great concern as we are in 2018 and, to my knowledge, we have really been battling to try to sort out the illegal electrical connections, and this is a matter that needs to be addressed. We want to see implementation.”
The recorded electrocutions occurred in Duncan Village, Mdantsane, Mzamomhle in Gonubie, Cambridge and Nompumelelo in Beacon Bay, among other areas.