Stealing electricity meters is a crime, and City Power has joined forces with other stakeholders to crack down on the problem.
THE cost of electricity is enough of a worry for most Johannesburg residents, without having stolen meters thrown into the mix too. This is why the City is cracking down on anyone found with these meters in their possession.
An electricity meterA prepaid electricity meter“Meters are generally stolen from people’s homes by individuals who pretend to be City Power officials,” says the spokesperson for the revenue and customer relations management department, Stan Maphologela. “These thieves are stealing from the City and misleading the public with these criminal activities.
“We would like to reassure honest, law-abiding citizens that we are closing the loop on such syndicates,” he says.
City Power’s risk control department, together with the police, the judiciary and companies such as Eskom, Transnet and Telkom, have joined forces to fight the scourge and ensure that perpetrators are arrested, charged and sent to jail.
Last month, a man was arrested for selling stolen meters to people in the Turffontein area for R4 000 each and installing them illegally. Not only that, he was bridging electricity too, which is extremely dangerous.
This is not a lone occurrence; 65 other offenders have been arrested this year, and Maphologela expects the number to rise as investigations into the problem continue.
The areas worst affected by the crime are west and south of the city and it is, to a smaller extent, occurring in the northern suburbs as well, according to Maphologela.
Only qualified City Power technicians are allowed to connect electricity at people’s houses. Maphologela requests the public’s vigilance in this regard. “Part of the strategy to combat this crime is to mobilise neighbourhoods through community road shows in which customers are urged to take ownership of the electricity network.”
Any suspicious behaviour or illicit activities should be reported, either to the City’s fraud hotline on 0800 002 587 or to the Johannesburg metropolitan police department on 0800 203 712.
There are also options open to customers who believe that they may unsuspectingly have bought a stolen meter. They can phone the City’s call centre on 011 375 5555 or City Power’s crime stop line on 080 000 3251. Another option for affected customers to consider is converting to prepaid meters, Maphologela advises.
For those considering tapping into what seems to be a lucrative market, with the price of meters generally ranging between R500 and R2 500, Maphologela warns of a nasty surprise when you are caught.
“Customers who willingly collude with these criminals must know that they too are equally committing a crime,” he says. As such, anyone found participating in these unlawful activities will be prosecuted accordingly.
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