The City of Cape Town says that although the City faces criticism for wasting electricity, the continued burning of streetlamps during the day serves as a deterrent against vandalism and infrastructural theft.
According to the executive director for energy at the City of Cape Town, Kadri Nassiep, it is more cost-effective for the City to leave streetlamps burning during the day in certain areas rather than to switch them off and risk severe infrastructural damage.
“One needs to understand the bigger problem faced by the City, which is a longer term problem beyond load-shedding: increased vandalism and theft of infrastructure,” explained Nassiep.
“It’s not just a problem affecting the City, but Prasa and Eskom. The problem for us is the cost of replacing infrastructure and the second problem is the safety of our community members while repairs have to be effected. The safer approach for us is therefore to keep the streetlights energised, even during the day, in some areas that have been the most affected by vandalism and theft.
In such a way, the cost is less than having to replace the infrastructure.”
Nassiep says that when the streetlamps are energised “it’s impossible for them [criminals] to steal the cables without electrocuting themselves.” He also explained that informal settlements located near these streetlamps often illegally use them as a source of electricity and that keeping the lights on would prevent those attempting to make illegal connections from being able to do so safely.
Despite this, however, many still feel that the City is wasting valuable energy and ought to develop alternative, less costly, measures to prevent cable theft and illegal connections.
Previous reports by IOL also indicate that at times certain areas may have their street lights left on for construction purposes.