Pretoria - City Power has confirmed that it has terminated contracts of old suppliers in the City of Johannesburg, appointing new highly skilled contractors.
Some councillors had circulated messages on WhatsApp saying the appointment of the new contractors would lead to outage repairs taking days, urging Joburg residents to prepare for pain.
However, Joburg City Power has disputed the claims that the new contractors were not up to standard amid suggestions the move would cause crisis in the metro.
The utility said its new contractors were highly skilled and credited to even provide turnkey solutions making it possible to save time and resources.
Most of the new contractors were said to have previously worked with City Power on bigger projects such as electrification and maintenance.
City Power spokesperson Isaac Mangena said the contractors started work on Thursday.
Mangena said the term of the old contractors ended three years ago and was renewed on a three-month basis until new contractors could be sourced.
He said the new contractors have already hit the ground running across all City Power’s service delivery centres.
“With the new contractors, we are responding to and also addressing some of our customers’ concerns with regard to the shoddy workmanship by contractors which we saw ourselves as we did quality control after the work, but it also came out strongly many times in our meetings with the residents,” he said.
He acknowledged that there would be a few glitches and even system shocks with every new on-boarding.
“But we assure our residents that there will be no disruptions and outages will be attended to as quickly as they should.
“We have empowered internal resources with about 120 new technicians recruited since February to ensure we beef up some of our team on the ground.
“We also want to indicate, over and above these new contractors, we have reinforced internal resources with about 120 new technicians recruited since February.”
Regarding the arrest of a contractor who was found allegedly tampering with essential infrastructure, Mangena said the utility decided to increase screening of new contractors.
Meanwhile, ward councillor Ralf Bittkau urged residents to support one another during this period.
“We are now facing an unprecedented situation where outages will continue to plague us for days, if not longer. The contingency allows for only seven contractors for the entire city,” said Bittkau.
However, Mangena said that the high stages of load shedding compounded with the winter peak period were not helping.
“But we are ready with more resources and material...to deal with outage backlogs in different areas,” he added.