Thieves robbing Eskom of conductors, cabling and related equipment cost the utility R102 million in the last financial year, according to its annual financial statement.
This was a 30% increase from the previous year’s R68 million and amounted to between 3 730GWh and 5 968GWh for the 2014/15 financial year.
Eskom revealed its profits had decreased by almost 50% to R3.6 billion in the 2014/15 financial year ended 31 March 2015, constrained by load shedding, a maintenance backlog, its new build programme delay as well as illegal connections and crime.
Operation Khanyisa, aimed at promoting the legal use of electricity by customers, resulted in over 2 700 tip-offs from the public during the financial year.
Actions to combat the losses are managed by the Eskom network equipment crime committee in collaboration with affected state owned enterprises and the South African Police Services, the report explained.
The combined effort resulted in 297 arrests and R11 million worth of stolen material was recovered.
Eskom beefed up fraud investigations and, concluding 23 cases in 2015 worth R40 million compared to four cases the previous year, when there was R7 million worth of fraud.
Total fruitless and wasteful expenditure accounted for R51 million (2014: R47 million) comprising 606 (2014: 354) incidents of which 18 incidents accounted for R28 million, the report showed.
Total irregular expenditure accounted for R712 million in the financial year.
More on Eskom