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The impact of electrical energy theft on revenue collection at Eskom in KwaZulu-Natal Province.

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South Africa’s state-owned company, Eskom has been experiencing a decline in revenue and an increase in non-technical energy losses(NTL). Research has shown that most utilities including those from first-world countries are struggling with non-technical energy losses and have employed advanced technological solutions which are aimed at reducing losses . In this study, the researcher investigates the motives behind energy theft from Eskom KwaZulu-Natal Operating Unit electricity consumers and recommends solutions to eradicate or reduce the NTL . Increase revenue collection by reducing customers that engage in energy theft activities in Eskom KwaZulu-Natal Operating Unit. In the context of this study the perception that electricity is a right, refers to the phenomenon that all energy consumers must be supplied with exceptional power quality, irrespective of whether they are from affluent or less affluent communities. Nonprobability sampling technique was employed to select 60 participants that are directly supplied by Eskom or are Eskom employees based in KwaZulu-Natal. A quantitative research approach was used to investigate the probable cause of increasing non-technical energy losses, and an online survey questionnaire was distributed to the potential participants. The results were divided into three sections section A, section B, and section C. The results were analyzed utilizing the Chi-square test. The results suggest that the increase in non-technical energy losses is attributed to consumers having easy access to the Eskom infrastructure. Most socio-economic groups find electricity tariffs unaffordable and consequently decreasing Eskom’s ability to collect revenue. The result of this study ensuing past research has proven that technological solutions applied in isolation will not address the increasing non-technical losses in utilities. The increase in NTL experienced by Eskom affects the larger masses of South Africa as energy access has a direct correlation to GDP growth and the livelihoods of households. A collaborative approach is needed between Eskom and the government to address the rising pressures induced by NTL, the use of theoretical knowledge in new technologies, reviewing tariff structures, new policies to help reduce energy theft, and joint partnerships between Eskom and the community leaders and strengthening law enforcement.


Masters Degree. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban.