Hilton’s power pain

2013-02-01 00:00

AS repairs continue to the ailing electricity infrastructure in Hilton, the face of the village will have to change to facilitate this.

Residents will now be forced to either prune or chop down trees in their yards that interfere with the overhead electricity lines, or the municipality has threatened to do it for them and charge them accordingly.

In addition, one lane of the narrow Hilton Avenue will be closed, while repairs to the damaged cable beneath it are effected.

One lane of Hilton Avenue outside the Quarry Shopping Centre will be closed at a time over a period of about two weeks while the road is dug up and nearby trees uprooted to reach the faulty cables.

At 2 am yesterday morning, an angry, frustrated and exhausted Msunduzi head of electricity, Sabatha Nomnganga, standing in the middle of Hilton Avenue, realised that the problem was far worse than the already terrible situation they had envisioned.

He called The Witness to vent his frustrations after having to contend with the wrath of Hilton residents the entire week.

He said that after digging down two metres through the night, by 2 am they discovered that the cables were buried even deeper than they initially expected.

“We should have been able to reach the cable at 1,8 metres, however, when the road was extended the cables were pushed further down, making it even more difficult for us to easily locate a fault,” Nomnganga said.

The road extension was done in 1995 to ease the traffic flow into the shopping centre.

He said trees in the area continued to be problematic. “Some of these trees were planted over my cables by residents who wanted to beautify the area and this makes it difficult for us to trace faults.

“We are now going to cut down the trees that are hanging on our overhead lines,” he said.

He said residents will have to either prune their trees back or even chop down trees that are interfering with the overhead lines, or the municipality would cut them down and bill home owners.

“While everyone is sleeping in the comfort zone of their homes, my wife is feeling the cold because I am out here working at 2 am in the morning,” said Nomnganga.

He said it was very frustrating trying to maintain an electricity network installed to service a village, when Hilton has become a small town, far outgrowing the infrastructure.

He said they planned to install a 132 kv line that would cater for developments in the next 25 years, “to ensure that we do not repeat the same error as our previous city engineers who never provided for the possible future growth of Hilton”.

He said all they needed was co-operation and understanding from the Hilton community because of the magnitude of the work involved as they would have to revamp the entire network.

Municipal spokesperson Brian Zuma said in the spirit of intergovernmental relations they would engage with uMngeni Municipality to discuss the issue of developers extending the road on their servitude.

“We are a family with uMngeni municipality belonging to Umgungundlovu District Municipality,” said Zuma.

When The Witness visited the area yesterday morning there was traffic congestion at the entrance of the Quarry because one lane had already been dug up.

In the meantime, the municipality has bypassed the cables temporarily to ensure there is power in the area.

There were intermittent power outages in Hilton yesterday while these repairs to the cable were being conducted.

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