MANY innocent lives are lost as a consequence of the unsafe use of electricity, particularly in the form of illegal connections.
Besides posing a very real danger to residents the City of Windhoek Public Relation Officer, Lydia Amutenya, said that the use of electricity through illegal connections is costing municipality millions of dollars.
“We are aware of these illegal practices by some of our clients, mostly the ones bordering with informal settlements. This is usually noticed via customer complains as power tends to go off in the whole area as a result of overloading the electricity networks as well as by visual inspections by our own staff,” said Amutenya.
Amutenya said those found guilty will be slapped with a N$2 000 fine.
“The loss cannot be quantified at this juncture, however, apart from monetary loss, this practice is inconveniencing other electricity users who are forced to put up with unnecessary power interruptions in areas surrounding people who make illegal connections,” stressed Amutenya.
He indicated that CoW are finalizing and have plans in place to increase the electricity supply in newly proclaimed informal settlements that are growing at a fast pace due to a high demand for land.
“The root cause of this practice is the dire need of people living in informal settlements to have access to electricity at any cost. The municipality is trying by all means and with all resources at its disposal to gradually providing more electricity and other municipal services to informal settlements,” she said.
She further said that illegal connections are in many instances responsible for devastating shack fires that have resulted in people being killed.
“Illegal connections pose a danger to human lives and damage to equipment and property. This is because of the way these connections are done and sometimes the supply cables used are not conforming to the right standards,” she concluded.
In the past six years, the City of Windhoek recorded six electrocution related fatalities and all of them are due to human contact with unsafe illegal power connections extended illegally to houses in areas without electricity in informal settlements and to backyard shacks by those that have legal and safe connections from the City of Windhoek.