Residents fed up after no electricity for five days

Published Nov 21, 2023

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Residents in Bishop Lavis and Elsies River have resorted to protesting after they have been stuck without electricity since Friday, November 17.

Protest action was taken on Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday morning in various parts of the area, as tyres and debris could be seen burning at intersections.

Speaking to IOL, one resident said people were doing the correct thing by protesting, as he expressed his displeasure with being without electricity for nearly a week.

“My clothes are not ironed, my meat in the deep freezer is destroyed, and I bought a full lamb on October 27, and now the meat is smelling. I support these people with the protest. They [Eskom] are talking about the electricity only going on by Friday and that is why people are so upset,” the resident said.

The chairman of the Bishop Lavis Community Policing Forum (CPF), Graham Lindhorst, told IOL there has been no communication from Eskom.

He said while he does not know the full scope of the protests, he does know some areas have been without electricity for days.

“Some people had to make alternative arrangements. People are fed up. They are receiving no answers. What about people who are sick and need to store their medication in cool places?

The load rotation schedule by Eskom. Picture: Supplied

“We will try to continue to get feedback from Eskom,” Lindhorst said.

Another resident from Bishop Lavis, who did not want to be named, said their cries for help have been drowned out as the majority of residents are too poor to afford to purchase airtime and log calls, nor do they have the luxury of generators or inverters, and most do not have access to cellphones or access to the internet.

“Our food is now rotten after three days of being in the dark; sick people cannot take medicine; the elderly cannot warm their food to eat; and children cannot bathe or study for school.

“This year alone, I have about eight reference numbers relating to Eskom power outages,” she said.

The woman said this is not the first time residents have been left in the dark.

“This is not a one-time scenario; previously, we were without electricity for another four days, and some residents were without electricity for a whopping 22 consecutive days. In September, we experienced deliberate double-load shedding slots for eight to 12 hours at a time. We are tired of this inhumane treatment, and something needs to be done,” she said.

IOL reached out to the power utility Eskom, who stated it expects a full restoration of electricity supply in Elsies River, Uitsig, Bishop Lavis, and Cravenby areas by 9pm on Wednesday, November 22.

“Due to the severe damage and complexity of the fault that left thousands of customers without power on Friday, Eskom technicians are executing major operations that requires time and multiple resources to restore its customers.

“Eskom urges customers to remain patient during this time and pleads with the community to allow the Eskom teams to do their work without any disturbances so that the power can be restored as soon as possible,” the power utility said.

Eskom also scheduled a rotational schedule for areas in order for its technicians to complete the much-needed repairs.

“As previously communicated, Eskom will implement load rotation in the affected areas to reduce excessive demand on local substations.

“Customers are warned to treat all electrical installations as live for the full duration of the interruption. Furthermore, customers must refrain from approaching Eskom work sites, as it hinders progress and contravenes Eskom safety regulations.

“Eskom apologises for any inconvenience caused to its customers and will endeavour to restore the supply as soon as possible,” it said.