Business Electricity Theft

Shedding Light on the Dark Side of Business Electricity Theft

Shedding Light on the Dark Side of Business Electricity Theft

March 13, 2024

Electricity theft is a silent thief that lurks within the very infrastructure meant to power our businesses, syphoning off revenue and resources. For many companies, the realisation dawns only when confronted with inflated energy bills, but by then, the damage is already done. It’s a problem that can cost businesses hundreds of thousands of Rands each year and undermine the integrity of energy systems.

The problem of electricity theft is by no means limited to non-authorised electricity usage within businesses; in the 2022/2023 financial year alone, the already-embattled Eskom recorded R6 billion of “material losses” attributed to criminal activity, including:

  • R344 million related to theft and damage to equipment
  • R81 million attributed to fraud and corruption
  • 6 billion linked to “non-technical losses” (an estimate of losses due to electricity theft by communities and other similar incidents)

The reality is that illegal power connections are placing increasing strain on South Africa’s already failing electricity grid and the businesses that rely on it. Criminal operations not only bleed companies financially but also strain the electricity infrastructure, leading to failures and disruptions. On top of this, issues like undetected illegal connections and employee abuse can go undetected for long periods, contributing to inflated business energy bills.

Reclaiming energy control and savings

The crux of stamping out energy theft lies in detection. But without concrete evidence, it’s challenging to pinpoint where the abuse is occurring and take decisive action. Enter PowerRadarTM, a sophisticated energy management platform that provides a holistic view of a company’s energy consumption. By leveraging advanced monitoring and analysis, businesses gain detailed visibility into their energy footprint, enabling them to distinguish between legitimate usage and illicit activities and combat electricity theft head-on.

We’ve seen the power of proper energy management first-hand. One of our clients, a hospital in Gauteng, implemented PowerRadar at their operations. The system picked up an illegal connection into their onsite energy supply that was syphoning off the electricity that the company was paying for. Through the software’s insights, they also discovered an unusual spike in energy consumption on a Saturday, when the facility was meant to be closed. They found that staff were using the facility during this time, and were able to put a stop to this illicit energy use.

The benefits of energy management go beyond theft detection

We’ll stick with the same example to show you how smart energy management leads to significant savings beyond the detection of energy theft. At the hospital, the data from the energy management technology we installed didn’t just detect unauthorised energy use; it also led to proactive interventions to optimise energy usage and mitigate losses. By identifying inefficiencies and implementing strategies such as automated light switches, LED lighting upgrades, and off-peak operations, the hospital was able to slash energy expenditure by an impressive 43%.

Don’t let electricity theft dim your prospects and profits

PowerRadar, a powerfully simple energy management platform, gives you the flexibility to control and manage all your energy data using a single, holistic view of your energy footprint. It provides detailed and up-to-date visibility of energy performance – helping you to use clear, reliable data to stamp out theft and inefficiencies (and the associated costs!).

If you want to ensure that you’re only paying for legitimate energy consumption at your premises, get in touch with the THOHO team to learn more about effective energy management.