Stop building homes under power lines, says Eskom

Eskom has urged residents to stop building structures under its power lines.

Eskom has urged residents to stop building structures under its power lines.

Published Feb 26, 2024


Residents have been urged to stop building houses and other buildings under Eskom's high-voltage lines.

Eskom said it has noted an escalation in homes and other structures being built within their power line servitudes.

The power utility said this is not only against Eskom regulations, but also poses a number of safety risks and therefore warns residents to stop.

Eskom’s senior corporate manager for occupational hygiene and safety, Miranda Moahlodi, said it is challenging to ensure the safety of those who live within power line servitudes, and residents are prohibited from doing so to protect the safety of communities.

“The common belief is that power lines are harmless because of their size and distance from the ground must be corrected,” she said.

The utility explained that the electric potential transmitted or distributed through power lines could be up to 765 000 volts.

It further highlighted that there had been incidents in which residents were injured due to metal objects making contact with live electricity.

“A fault anywhere on the power line may cause very high current to flow down to the ground. If somebody is close to the line, the current can flow through the person and kill him or her, or a line may break due to strong winds or bad weather and land on a house or a person, which could kill or seriously hurt the inhabitants,” Eskom said.

Moahlodi also added that chiefs or traditional authorities who wanted to give their people pieces of land close to an Eskom servitude needed to speak to its local office first.

“The traditional leaders and Eskom can then together make sure that all the people are allocated land away from the power lines, ensuring their safety,” she said.

She has also urged developers to ensure the required clearance is maintained when access roads are built crossing Eskom’s servitudes.

Beyond the direct safety issues this can cause, Eskom warned residents that building close to and or under power lines makes it difficult for the utility to conduct infrastructure inspections, which can affect the supply of power in an area and hinder the early detection of issues that could cause major damage.

Eskom further said it uses various types of machinery to maintain its power lines, such as big trucks, which require enough space to access the structure, it also uses helicopters to perform live line maintenance, and as such it becomes risky to the people living under the lines.

“We hope that the public will pay attention this call and assist us by only building in designated areas that have been approved by the local municipality and government, we will continue to educate communities about electricity safety ensuring that we all use electricity safely and responsibly,” Moahlodi added.

Pretoria News

Lesego Montso

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