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Illegal connections a heavy burden on electricity transformers
​The public is urged to refrain from connecting electricity illegally.

THERE has recently been reports of electricity transformers exploding in different parts of the City. This subsequently leads to power cuts in those affected areas. Transformers can explode for various reasons including during storms, due to a lightning strike, damage to wires or equipment in the electrical grid receiving too much electricity flow into the transformer, causing it to blow.

Customers are encouraged to switch off their appliances when there is loadshedding so when power is restored, transformers do not get overloaded and possibly trip. While the Electricity Unit has measures in place to ensure that transformers are not burdened, illegal electricity connections remain an undeniable threat.

While illegal electricity connections are prevalent across the City, this is most common in areas around informal settlements. Specialist engineer, Abel Malima said customers must understand the role transformers play in keeping their lights on and the consequences of having many of them explode frequently. “In informal settlements, you find that there are legitimate customers but if you look at the number of customers that are connected to one transformer, they comprise 30 percent of the overall connection, of which 70 percent of them are illegal.

They connect themselves to the transformer by-passing safety features placed to protect the transformer,” said Malima. Malima said this further delays service delivery. “They know that if they
don’t by-pass the safety feature the fuse will burn and it will take us hours or a day to be able to replace it,” he said.

Seasons of the year and time of day also contribute to determining a heavy burdened transformer’s fate. “Most of these transformers burn during peak hours because everyone is using electricity at the same time. Illegal connections lead to transformer bursts and that places legitimate customers
at a disadvantage which further creates misdirected anger towards eThekwini Electricity,” Malima said.

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