Eskom sends ’copters to blackouts

2012-08-09 00:00

AS the snow clouds lifted yesterday, Eskom helicopters took to the skies to find where the severe weather had disrupted five transmission lines in KwaZulu-Natal, affecting more than 70 000 consumers in the province yesterday and today.

Eskom spokesperson Hilary Joffe told The Witness that technicians were despatched to fly along the power lines to seek out the faults and begin repairs. “We apologise to all those affected. We are doing our very best to restore power as soon as possible, but we cannot put a time on it,” she said.

Eskom said in a statement issued last night that power had been restored to some areas including eThekwini, Ixopo, uMhlathuze, KwaDukuza and Matatiele. Joffe, meanwhile, urged all Eskom customers, particularly those in KZN, to use electricity as sparingly as possible and switch off all non-essential appliances, particularly during peak times.

John Pearce, community watch co-ordinator in Underberg, said a major worry was the erratic cellphone service, which had been badly affected by the weather.

Pearce said the area was still without power, adding to the frustrations of residents and businesses. Many people could not get to work.

He said he had heard of one farmer who lost 10 young oxen to the freezing temperatures, and said more stock losses were likely to emerge.

Robin Barnsley, president of the agricultural union, Kwanalu, warned that heavy frost, which could also be damaging, was likely as the wet weather cleared.

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