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Johannesburg - Florida residents have been left seething after a blunder by City Power officials destroyed their home electronic equipment and wiring.
The problem began on Saturday when the power went off in Extension 2.
City Power officials arrived on Sunday and installed a generator at the nearby park.
Officials who came to fix the main electricity box on Thursday morning overpowered the voltage by double what was necessary, resulting in a power surge.
The smell of smoke and burnt plastic still permeated every room in William Cox’s home Thursday afternoon.
Cox and his wife had been at work when they received a distressed call from their domestic helper, telling them their house was on fire.
Upon arrival, they found that the main power box had been burnt. So were several other plugs, one of which had gone black from the flames and smoke.
“The fire brigade told us that the whole wiring of the house was destroyed from the surge... We phoned City Power and they gave us a form for insurance and said it would take up to four months to pay out. Four months. Everything that was plugged in is burnt. Our TV, fridge, DVD, everything,” Cox said.
Up the street from the Cox household, a livid Fiona Wilson said the most frustrating thing about their situation was the cavalier treatment they received from officials when they tried to find out what had happened.
Wilson said that after hearing three loud bangs from her kitchen, she realised her fridge and microwave had blown.
“Insurance won’t pay out for electrical surges, and we can’t wait four months. Somebody needs to take responsibility. This is ridiculous,” she said.
Another resident, Mark Bloy, said he was called back home after the initial blasts from the appliances and “all hell had broken loose”.
“All our appliances, stoves and microwaves were blown to smithereens. Five fire brigades had to come to our area.
“We’re sitting here with huge electrical problems. We have no electricity and City Power has left. My question is: Who is responsible for this?” he asked.
Ward 70 councillor David Dewes said he wasn’t even informed by City Power that they were going to replace the substation.
“I would like to know which qualified electrician pumps 380 volts instead of the normal 200? What makes me angry is the way they treat the public, the consumer… There’s no empathy,” he said.
Dewes assured residents that he would get the situation fixed and that the power utility would pay.
City Power spokesman Louis Pieterse said he would have a conclusive report today and would comment on the matter after studying it.