Public warned against loose wires

Hennie Pauw
Eskom is circulating a press release warning the public about the dangers of vandalised meters and mini boxes to communities.
The jumbled electric wiring coming from these vandalised meters and mini boxes, running across grass, roads and public areas are a common sight in certain communities. These are signs of illegal connections, which provides the end-user with electricity – free of charge.
But not only is it illegal, it also has the potential to be deadly, and the most likely victims are children, warns Eskom.
“To many children the sight of colourful wires lying unattended on the ground is an invitation to touch and pick up. This is when tragedies occur. When the wires are touched, electricity surges through and a child may pay for his or her curiosity with horrific burns and even death,” says Moniwa Mahlangu, Distribution SHE Manager at Eskom.
Additional hazards are caused by the weather. After showers water accumulates in puddles, getting the wires wet and making areas ‘live’. Touching a puddle could cause the end of a young life.
People who vandalise and steal electricity through illegal connections are therefore not only thieves who actually drive up the cost of electricity to law abiding citizens, but they also place the health and lives of others in their areas at risk.
“Teaching children to ignore the temptation posed by these wires and to immediately report them to an adult, Eskom and to the police should
be a part of their education,” says Moniwa. Children should also be warned not to play or climb on meter/mini boxes or to climb over walls or fences to enter Eskom installations, which can be extremely hazardous.
Eskom has a reporting line which people can use to communicate any unsafe conditions in their areas. Reporting does not mean betrayal of the user; it is an action which can save lives. All callers will remain anonymous. The telephone number on which these reports can be made is 0860 037 566. For more information on dangers associated with electricity Eskom can be e-mailed on safety@eskom.co.za.