Eskom power lines and you – Part 2

Eskom has the right to enter your property at any time. Gerhard Uys spoke to Eskom’s Arthur Smith about what this entails.

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As noted last week, in the interests of farm security, all Eskom staff and their contractors must carry identity cards bearing their photographs, and their vehicles must be clearly marked.

They may use only the servitude roads on the farm – those that allow them access to the utility’s infrastructure. Where this is not possible, they require the landowner’s permission to use other roads. Driving through the veld is avoided as far as possible.

Farm gates are left as found – open or closed. Where the gate is used regularly by Eskom and the landowner, the Eskom lock is locked into the chain-link, separate from the landowner’s lock, to enable each party to gain access without inconveniencing the other.

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If a lock has to be cut in an emergency, this must be reported to the landowner within 24 hours. In addition, no Eskom representative may climb over or crawl under a fence, or damage or remove a fence, without the landowner’s permission.

Game farms
No fauna or flora may be collected or removed from a property without the landowner’s written permission. If permission is granted, the provincial legislation pertaining to fauna and flora must be followed.

In the case of proclaimed protected areas or private game farms, a guide should always accompany the Eskom employees, as these areas contain dangerous and expensive wild animals.

Planned and unplanned visits
For planned visits, Eskom must notify the landowner as per NERSA requirements, which is 14 days before the event, and confirm the visit 24 hours before. Such visits will be for vegetation control, live-line work, line inspections and general maintenance.

In the case of unplanned outages or incidents, Eskom must try to inform the landowner of its intention to enter the property in advance.

In both cases, however, if the landowner cannot be reached, the work will proceed.The landowner should report any damage caused during an Eskom visit (including damage to crops and grazing) to the relevant Eskom line manager, who will affect repairs.

The crew must remove all litter when it leaves. Finally, to ascertain if an Eskom helicopter is patrolling a power line on your farm, phone Eskom Aviation at 011 266 8800. If possible, note the registration number of the helicopter beforehand.

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Gerhard Uys grew up as a real city lad, but spends his free time hiking and visiting family farms. He learnt the journalism trade as a freelance writer and photographer in the lifestyle industry, but having decided that he will be a cattle farmer by the age of 45 he now indulges his passion for farming by writing about agriculture. He feels Farmer’s Weekly is a platform for both developed and emerging farmers to learn additional farming skills and therefore takes the job of relaying practical information seriously.