Appliances explode as PMB cable thieves strike

2014-05-24 00:00

RESIDENTS in two Pietermaritzburg suburbs woke up to exploding appliances in the early hours of yesterday morning after cable thieves hit sub-stations on opposite ends of the city — Yalta Road substation in Prestbury and the Herschensonn sub-station in Mason’s Mill.

By late yesterday there was no tally of the damage caused and the households and businesses that were affected.

However, last Saturday 18 households in Amanda Cresent in Northdale were also hit by a power surge and municipal staff who went out told residents they suspected that cable theft caused the explosions.

The residents said the surge saw light bulbs explode with radios, TVs, computers, fridges and geysers also damaged.

Linda Longhurst, who lives in the Prestbury area, had a similar experience yesterday. Her family woke up around four in the morning to appliances popping and broken lightbulbs. Later her husband went for his morning walk and discovered that the nearby sub-station had been broken open and cables stripped.

While the Longhursts were making their discovery, municipal staff were alerted to a break-in at the Herschensonn sub-station in Mason’s Mill

Prestbury ward councillor Glen McArthur said he had been told that the power surges were the result of the thieves’ modus operandi. They switch off the power, remove the neutral cable for its copper and switch the power back on. The existing wires then carry more current with 400 and more volts surging through the cables.

McArthur remarked that the thieves appeared to have changed they way they operate. They usually hit a suburb at a time, but in this instance they had struck sub-stations on opposite sides of the city.

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