Assagay residents fume over power outages
Over the past two years outages have intensified, with some residents calling out eThekwini Municipality on its reasons for the breakdowns, labelling them excuses and lies.
Residents said they would sometimes spend more than an hour on hold while waiting to report an outage to the city’s electricity fault line.
Spokesperson Msawakhe Mayisela apologised for the problems with the telephone lines. “This could have something to do with high call volumes. We have now escalated the challenge and given it priority,” he said.
He said the city was confident that a permanent solution to outages would soon be found.
“It is our duty to deliver services to communities and electricity is a basic service. We can’t have residents going long intervals without it. We will now be moving forward with speed to find a permanent solution.”
However, Assagay resident Billy Farrell said the community was at boiling point as there had been no power from 7am yesterday in some parts of the area.
“The municipality says it’s cable theft and I think this is a lie. I’m chairperson of the neighbourhood watch and we have patrols. There hasn’t been a sign of cable theft in our area,” he said.
“We have not seen anyone from the municipality out here trying to fix the problem. On Tuesday we had a massive surge which in all probability is going to lead to damaged equipment, which I am going to encourage people to claim for from their insurance and hit the city with the bill as well. Next I’m afraid there will be a class action suit against the city because we are now fed up.”
Liam Kay said when residents managed to get through to the call centre, reasons given for outages were always cable problems or a blown transformer.
He said the outages were unpredictable as at times the area would not be affected for three to four months but now, in one month, there had been at least seven outages.“We’re not sure if it’s a lack of maintenance of the infrastructure. Sometimes the outages only affect certain houses,” he said.
Kay said the outages were made worse by scheduled load shedding.“When we have outages for more than five hours it’s an inconvenience as it’s unplanned. We have to throw food away from the fridge. I had to get a domestic gas stove which costs between R5 000 to R10 000. I had to get a back-up power system for security reasons and it cost about R15 000.”.
Jan Price, who lives on an avocado farm, said security was also her concern. When outages occurred people could climb over her electric fence to steal from her farm. “I feel nothing is being done about this (outages).”