Forced to fix power

2015-01-07 00:00

IRATE Northdale residents — without power since Saturday evening — surrounded Msunduzi Municipality electricians trying to restore power to their homes on Monday night and forced them to stay on the site until the repair was done.

One resident from the Mount View area, who is an electrician, followed the municipal employees around until midnight to make sure they completed the job.

Electricity went out in several parts of the city following a storm on Saturday.

It was restored late on Sunday but went out again that evening. The power was restored again on Monday evening as the residents threatened to riot.

However, some sections of Mount View have not been restored and were still out yesterday, while sections of Bombay Road that had been restored on Monday went out again yesterday.

Councillor Rooksana Ahmed said while the residents understood that the storm was a natural phenomenon, they were frustrated by the lack of information about when the power would be restored.

Residents on several streets were affected, she said.

Over the past few days Ahmed had fielded hundreds of calls from frustrated residents. They grew angrier and more aggressive with each phone call, she said.

“They were understanding on the first five calls, but by the 20th call they are very frustrated.

“Residents are understandably irate; they want detailed progress reports from the municipality,” she said.

Ahmed said many of those affected were the poor, elderly and unemployed people who could not afford to have food go rotten, while others had medication that needs to be stored in refrigerators.

Others also allegedly lost appliances that had been damaged by power surges.

“This was not the only area that was affected by the storm. The power went out in many other areas too, but they have been restored. This area’s electricity keeps coming on and going off.

“Some residents grew frustrated and surrounded the municipal employees and made them stay there until the power was fixed,” said a resident who declined to be named.

Another resident, who works for Eskom, said on Monday night he followed municipal electricians around until midnight as he tried to make sure they did not leave before restoring the power.

“Their turnaround time is bad. They knew on Saturday what the problem was but they only came back at 9 am on Sunday to fix it,” he said.

A businesswoman said she had lost stock because her fridge and other appliances were not working after being damaged by a power surge.

Councillor Nithia Govender said the lack of information about the outage was a problem. “Your guess is as good as mine as to when this will be fixed.”

Municipal spokesperson Thobeka Mafumbatha said their officials were working on fixing the problem.

Meanwhile, parts of Hilton were also reported to be in the dark again last night.

• Thamsanqam@witness.co.za

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