Power cuts caused by illegal connections led to violence and looting of shops in Dube, Soweto, Eskom said on Monday.
“Yes there was an outage, but it was because of overloading due to illegal connections,” Eskom spokesperson Khulu Phasiwe said.
He said “criminal elements” were responsible for the violence on Sunday night.
After a bottle store and KFC outlet were looted, locals – apparently residents of the Dube Hostel – tried to break open two ATMs next to the KFC, but police arrived and the culprits fled empty-handed, Gauteng traffic police spokesperson Obed Sibasa said on Monday morning.
The violence began at around 19:00. Police spokesperson Colonel Lungelo Dlamini said no arrests were made and nobody was injured.
Phasiwe said about 27 000 homes had been fitted with the new prepaid meters in parts of Soweto, including Dobsonville, Meadowlands, Chiawelo, and Protea North.
In Orlando West, 2 500 homes had the meters installed and another 2 500 would still be done.
He said it was estimated that during the next five years the whole of Soweto would get the meters, but this depended on the success of the power utility’s campaign to educate people about the new meters.
One of the perceptions people had was that the new meters used up electricity faster than the old ones.
Protests against the new meters, like ones in Orlando West recently, would delay their installation as the utility was not willing to risk the lives of its technicians.
Phasiwe the meters would be installed everywhere in the country where Eskom, instead of municipalities, supplied customers.