Eskom replaces over 400 transformers damaged by network overloading

Source: 6/12/2024, Location: Africa

As demand for electricity rises while temperatures fall with the onset of winter, the issue of network overloading has resurfaced in some areas due to electricity theft. To date, Eskom has replaced 400 transformers damaged by network overloading since January 2024. Eskom has suspended loadshedding for 77 consecutive days due to sufficient generation capacity to supply electricity to the country.

Electricity theft is wide-ranging and includes illegal connections, network equipment theft, vandalism, meter bypasses and tampering, unauthorised network operations and purchasing electricity from illegal vendors.

There are currently around 2 500 transformers which are frequently overloaded across the country and at the risk of failing, with just under 1 000 transformers isolated and awaiting replacement.

“Overloaded transformers as a result of electricity theft present a serious risk to human life. The time, funds and manpower used to replace these transformers could have been utilised to improve the reliability of our network, electrify more communities, improve the experience of our paying customers, and create more jobs,” said Agnes Mlambo, the Acting Group Executive for Eskom Distribution. “A transformer damaged by overloading can leave an area without power for up to six months, protecting Eskom’s assets is in the best interest of all South Africans,” she continued.

To prevent load reduction and abrupt loss of supply, Eskom has launched the ‘Save Your Transformers, Save Lives’ campaign that urges customers to reduce their consumption, ensure that the electricity they consume is legally connected, paid for, purchased from legal vendors, and to report illegal activities. Visit

Load reduction is a long-established process which Eskom uses in specific areas when there is sufficient electricity available but a transformer is in danger of overloading, whereas loadshedding is used when there is an insufficient supply of electricity.

It is important to note that load reduction is not loadshedding. Load reduction is a proactive measure that Eskom uses to protect human life, and equipment worth millions of rands – particularly mini-substations, transformers and people’s livelihoods.

Customers are urged to report criminal activities such as illegal connections, theft and vandalism that can damage transformers, mini-substations, and other electricity infrastructure to the Eskom Crime Line on 0800 112 722.

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