Eskom investigates the stealing of support lattices

Eskom has revealed that an investigation to a new trend, namely theft of support lattices for electricity pylons is underway. Eskom says the thieves are now not only stealing electricity and conductor cables but support lattices from steel overhead structures as well. The thieves unscrew the steel support pillars designed to stabilize the pylon in extreme weather conditions causing it to weaken and fall in a strong wind.
Lenny Babulall, Eskom’s public safety specialist says, “More and more incidents of this nature are being reported throughout the country. The consequence of these criminal acts is often fatal. Innocent people lose their lives because of criminals.”
These criminals don’t only kill people, but affect electricity supply. The result is unplanned power outages, loss of direct foreign investment due to infrastructural inadequacies and severe financial losses, for Eskom and for businesses.
Eskom is aware of the negative impact that this new trend has on its customers. The impact of electricity-linked criminal activities is alarming. The investigation is Eskom’s initiative which will result in the development of various preventative programmes to address the problem.
Leon van den Berg, senior consultant with Eskom’s security risk management, says, “The stolen material is sold to scrap metal dealers. Eskom is currently initiating an awareness campaign to inform dealers of the specifications of the material and how it can be identified.”
“While the thieves are paid relatively little for their crimes, the effect of their actions can be devastating. The millions of rands lost in these criminal activities per year is something Eskom can ill afford,” adds Van den Berg.
Public participation is an integral part of any development process. Eskom needs the community’s support in preventing these practices. If members of the public have any information regarding these criminal acts of vandalism, cable, conductor theft and unlawful entry to electricity substations in their area, they can report by calling the toll free number 0800 11 27 22.
“Members of the public reporting theft may remain anonymous, but are asked to provide as much detail as possible to enable revenue protection staff to locate sites where theft has occurred,” concludes Lenny Babulall.