Tag Archive | electricity theft

Township mortality rates from electricity theft on the increase

In a presentation to Parliament on safety measures being adopted by the suppliers of bottled gas cylinders and paraffin stove manufacturers and Eskom, as suppliers of energy to lower income homes,it was confirmed that mortality incidents in informal townships as a result of electricity theft and illegal connections were very much on the increase.

It emerged that much of the community risk that was involved mainly in South African townships occurred as a result of pirate trading and illegal tapping into power infrastructure systems. Pictures were shown of amateur connections being made in small electricity sub-stations.

Eskom reported that community safety education, the building of proper homes and more regulatory checks by the relevant departments were the only chance of reducing deaths and accidents in all three energy spheres, those reporting to Parliament stated. Eskom said that they were stepping up such programmes.

The para statal told parliamentarians that the number of public injuries arising from misuse of electricity had risen steadily over three years reaching 179 in 2012, as yet an incomplete year, as compared with 136 for the whole year last year.     74 deaths had been recorded already this year, as compared with 82 for the whole of 2011.

Illegal connections in informal settlements remained the main cause of death and the main direction taking by Eskom in combating this problem lay in education at schools, the only contact point that could be established on a regular institutional basis.

In the case of the Liquified Petroleum Gas Assoc. of SA (LPGSA), Denis Herold, told the parliamentary committee on energy that the major problem facing them in countering accidents  and injuries, sometimes fatal, was that some LPG gas suppliers were unregistered and as unqualified gas bottle fillers they risked the lives of those around them with illegal filling and gas cylinder distribution. It was difficult to find and identify these people.

He said the main risk with LPG gas bottles was the filling aspect and providing this was done in the correct manner by a registered supplier who both understood the processes, was registered and abided by the regulations and SABS standards, there was no problem.

One of the problems was a cross border migration of cylinders problem resulting in old and dangerous cylinders infiltrating into the marketplace, he said. Herold called for legal and proper use and distribution of gas bottles only by owners; more control by the national regulator regarding LPG gas bottle usage and the enforcement of the Petroleum Products Act by the state authority in respect of gas bottle filling.

Patrick Kulati of the Paraffin Safety Association (PSA) indicated that whilst burn injuries from paraffin use were about half that of burn injuries from electrical accidents, poisonous ingestion to children was a problem with children, particularly in the first and second year of life, and this could only be solved by parental education. There were involved deeply is such education programmes.

He pointed to the underlying social problems facing South Africa such as cramped living conditions in illegal townships and improperly built living quarters; a lack of safe, affordable appliances and the combustible materials making up many homes at present. However, he said that PSA’s main effort had to be in the direction of joining with other energy suppliers in the education programmes available.

Again it was stressed that most of the problems arose out of poor housing situations and informal settlements.

Posted in Education, Electricity, Energy, Health, Land,Agriculture, Public utilities, Uncategorized0 Comments

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