File photo: Matthews Baloyi
File photo: Matthews Baloyi

Durban power cuts blamed on heat

Time of article published Dec 28, 2014

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Durban - Ethekwini municipality has sought to reassure households that there will be no energy shortage over New Year after complaints of power cuts caused by “excessive heat” which affected transformers on Christmas Day and over the weekend.

However, local businessman Lee Govender was angry at the power cuts.

Govender, who lives in the Parlock area, is among many residents who haven’t had electricity for three days and on Saturday there was still no sign of it being restored.

“Our electricity was cut on Christmas Day, which is absolutely ridiculous.

“We had chicken roasting in the oven, our television set blew up and thousands of rands’ worth of food which we bought for Christmas was spoiled.

“This is meant to be the festive season and we have to put up with this? This is just not on,” said Govender.

He said that whenever he tried to call the electricity department, they would respond by saying that it was indefinite and they could not guarantee when electricity in the area would be restored.

Another Durban resident, Jakes Ramdhin, said that this was his worst Christmas yet thanks to the power cuts.

“I can speak on behalf of hundreds of other people in the Chatsworth area who were affected by the power cuts on Christmas day. Everyone was complaining. What was meant to be a joyous occasion turned into a disaster for hundreds of families.

“We could not even enjoy a decent Christmas meal,” said Ramdhin.

eThekwini spokesman Thabo Mofokeng blamed the “scorching heat” of about 40ºC on Christmas Day for the power cuts.

He said technicians had been working hard to solve the problem. He told the Sunday Tribune on Saturday that it had nothing to do with Eskom’s load shedding.

“Most of the substations have been upgraded and serviced regularly. It was mostly caused by excessive heat. We are very concerned about this situation and have asked officials to do what is necessary to prevent or limit disruptions to the power supply. Hopefully, things will return to normal soon.”

He said he was pleased that power has been restored to some areas and teams were working on all the others.

“Electricity cuts and intermittent power supply were because heat caused medium voltage cable terminations to fail at various substations.”

He also apologised for delays at the electricity call centre, explaining that the high volume of calls created long waiting periods.

The municipality would investigate how it could improve its service.

He said other areas affected were Waterfall, Kloof, Clermont, Isipingo and Chatsworth.

An eThekwini electricity call centre agent said that he had received about 20 complaints from people in areas affected by power cuts on Saturday alone.

An Eskom call centre agent said there were no plans for load shedding this week.

Sunday Tribune

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