Lights back on in Hilton

2011-05-10 00:00

HILTON’S immediate power crisis is over, according to the municipality.

As The Witness reported yesterday, one of the two electricity cables carrying power to Hilton was damaged and resulted in blackouts and load shedding. Electricity process manager Maxwell Mthembu explained that because one of the in-feed cables was down, the other one was left to bear the full capacity of electricity going to Hilton. The cable was only designed to carry 13MVA, and as soon as it carried more it would trip out, causing a blackout. To prevent a blackout, certain suburbs had to have load shedding to bring down the electricity consumption.

The second electricity in-feed line has since been repaired, as confirmed just after 2 pm yesterday by sub-stations manager Tony David.

This was also confirmed by municipal spokesperson Brian Zuma.

“There will not be any load shedding, and probably not even any outages,” said Zuma. He added that the municipality will be cleaning up the brush and trees around the cable to try to ensure nothing damages the cable in future.

Countering a hoax e-mail that has been circulating a three-year-old load shedding plan from an old municipal address, Mthembu stressed that the load shedding in Hilton was only for this past weekend, and that no more load shedding will take place in Hilton now that the line has been fixed.

Repairs to the faulty electricity cable had been under way since the start of the weekend. A fault means that the cable has broken or has a weak spot, but Rodney Smith of CDI Electric says no one can be sure why the fault occurred. However, The Witness has reported on the lack of maintenance to the electricity lines feeding Hilton, and this may have been a reason for the fault.

The fault was located off Celtis Road, halfway up an electricity pole. Scaffolding had to be brought in due to the height of the cable. The fault was in very dense brush, down a steep, muddy slope, and all the scaffolding and parts had to be carried up and down the slippery slope.

Several of the electricians returned from their job panting and perspiring after the steep climb, even without the heavy scaffolding.

The damaged length of cable had to be replaced and rejoined and the line tested before it could be used again.

Zuma says the second power line is now fully restored.

Ivan Ludick of Maxi Video at the Quarry Centre said many people have come in to say they are returning their DVDs late because they couldn’t open the DVD machine after the power went off.

“Or they bring us the DVD machine and ask us to open it.” Fortunately, Hilton residents should now be able to use their DVD machines and other appliances again without fear of the power going off due to load shedding.

HILTON residents have been investing in measures to secure energy supplies in the face of the frequent power cuts and load shedding. Resident Darren Baker is one of several residents who recently bought a generator for his family, at R11 000. Mike Smith of Gasworx in Hilton says emergency light and cooker sales have increased by between 200% and 300%. Smith said: “Four in every five customers say they are coming in as a result over unhappiness with electricity supply.”

THE power to Montrose was restored at 8 am yesterday, said electricity process manager Maxwell Mthembu, after an outage on Sunday night. The power outage was caused by a tree falling on the power line. Mthembu said there were some delays in finding the fault, but once it was located the repair was completed early yesterday morning. However, some residents were still complaining that electricity had not been restored late yesterday.

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