Homeowners protest after City Power tackles illegal connections

700 houses targeted in sting operation

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Residents of Mayibuye in Midrand marched on the police station to protest after City Power cut electricity to houses where meter boxes had been tampered with. Photos: Silver Sibiya

Dozens of homeowners from Mayibuye township in Midrand marched to Rabie Ridge police station on Tuesday, after City Power cut electricity to nearly 100 houses where meter boxes had been tampered with.

Public Order Police warned the protesters not to destroy any infrastructure.

The power officials came with a large police convoy, including Nyalas and trucks, and collected circuit breakers and electricity cables.

In November new meter boxes were installed by City Power, but many households managed to bypass them again. Many homeowners rent out space to backyarders and complain that they cannot pay their electricity bills.

Kholiswa Nqcukana, who has nine tenants, says after City Power put in a prepaid meter box in November, her electricity bill came to between R3,000 and R4,000.

“We asked City Power to please reduce the cost but they did not listen. When you boil just water, R50 is gone,” she said.

Paulina Moloto who has six tenants, said like most other households she had not paid for electricity for 14 years.

“Before, almost everyone was not buying electricity for about 12 to 14 years, but since last year we were forced to use prepaid electricity,” Moloto said.

Moloto said she now struggles to make a living and send her children to school. “We don’t make a profit anymore, because R100 electricity lasts for a day.”

Simokgadi Mphahlele, City Power Midrand Revenue Coordinator, said the new meter boxes had been installed in November but residents had bypassed them again. City Power says about 700 households have tampered with meter boxes.

“Last year between November and December we did the operation of normalising Mayibuye. After that we collected a huge amount that we had not been getting. But between January and February, the customers bypassed electricity again,” she said.

“When we normalised in December we recovered almost R2-million from all those customers, but currently in February we only collected R800,000.”

Mphahlele said 99 households had been targeted in Tuesday’s operation and City Power would return to the remaining houses.

Officials from City Power conducted a sting operation in Midrand.

TOPICS:  Electricity

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