Eskom’s automated fault reporting solutions are all terrible, talk to a human instead

This morning at around 9:30AM, my power went out for no reason whatsoever. There was no lightning, no rain and yet, for two hours, I sat waiting for Eskom to answer its phone.

This has become a somewhat weekly occurrence in my part of Gauteng. Without warning, the power will go out and the length of that outage could be anything for 15 minutes to 48 hours.

The outage bothers me of course but it’s the process I have to go through in order to report this outage that makes it frustrating to the point of anger inducing.

To give the full scope of the picture, I am not the account holder and as such I need to rely on my landlord to report outages. As they are not always on the property during my work hours, I have been given the Eskom account number so that I am able to report outages.

When Eskom launched Alfred in July 2021, I was keen to test it out but after hitting my head against that wall several times, I can state with confidence that Alfred does not work.

Our experience with Alfred always goes the same way. Account number omitted for privacy.

As you can see in the image above, Alfred cannot verify the account number which is strange. When calling Eskom’s contact centre on 0860 037 566, the system does recognise the account number and we can proceed with whatever our query happens to be.

Alfred also falls short when following up on faults. We have had several instances where reference numbers simply don’t register with the chatbot or it provides no information beyond “fault logged”.

It gets worse though because in our experience, logging a fault through the contact centre is also a failure, at least when using the automated option Eskom provides.

Over the last two months when selecting the option for electricity supply problems, we have reached the end of the questions only to be met with “Your reference number is” and then silence. When trying to repeat the number, we are once again met with silence.

This presents several problems because I don’t know if the problem has been logged and even if it had, I have no reference number to follow up on.

So how does one log a fault with Eskom?

  1. Dial 0860 037 566. We recommend loading up on airtime because despite this being a shared call, you will be on hold for a long time.
  2. Select your province and then key in your Eskom account or meter number. Confirm this number when asked to do so.
  3. You will then hear a flurry of options. Select option 2 for account queries and then select option 5 to speak to a consultant. Do not select the option for electricity supply problems.
  4. You will then be placed into a queue and unfortunately you’re in for a long wait upwards of 30 minutes depending on the time of day and how busy the contact centre is.

Importantly, the Eskom Contact Centre consultants only work during business hours so don’t try this method before 08:00AM or after 05:00PM.

Eskom has all these wonderful digital tools but unfortunately they appear to have been slapped together by a team that never cared to check that things work as intended. Perhaps during a small round of testing, things did work but looking from the outside in, it’s clear that these solutions need work if not complete overhauls.

We highly recommend using the steps we outlined above. It’s slow and cumbersome, but at least you’ll know your fault has been reported.


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