Power thieves, beware!

A BOLD plan to combat electricity theft in Nelson Mandela Bay will be implemented by the end of the month – and it will not cost the city a cent.

It includes the use of hi-tech tracking devices, private contractors and teams of investigators.

The move comes two months after the municipality said it was facing a budget dilemma, with electricity sales down R27-million in June and July alone.

Electricity sales account for 37% of the city's total income.

The theft of electricity has already cost the city R180-million since the beginning of the year – and it expects to lose a further R80-million by the end of the year.

"We have nothing to lose and everything to gain," municipal energy and electricity director Peter Neilson said yesterday.

"As electricity theft has evolved, we have had to develop advanced systems to counter these methods.

"We have been forced to adopt a mafia- on-mafia approach which will get results and save the metro millions of rands.

"Part of this strategy is subcontracting specialists who are paid on a performance basis. The implementation of this policy will not cost the metro a cent."

The turnaround strategy, approved by the city council earlier this year, is the first of its kind in South Africa.

It has received the backing of the Energy Department, the Treasury and the National Energy Regulator of SA.

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