Patrols to keep lights on

2017-05-16 06:01

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The City of Cape Town has instituted “armed patrols” after spending R3.6m to repair vandalised electricity infrastructure in the Far South since December.

The cost of repairs in seven incidents of vandalism of overhead electricity cables reached R3.59m, and included damage to cables at the Gay Dam Water Purification Plant, Da Gama Park, Soetwater resort, Scarborough, Simon’s Town and Red Hill. Eddie Andrews, Mayco member (South), confirms the deployment of armed patrols in “affected areas”.

The R3.6m only covers the labour and materials for reinstatement and does not cover the loss of revenue or cost of using generators, he says.

The impact of the damage has resulted in the electricity network to Scarborough and surrounding areas being operated with only one feed point instead of two, explains ­Andrews.

“Therefore there is no capacity for an alternative feed in the event of one section malfunctioning. This means any component or equipment failure will result in an outage and the affected residents will have a prolonged period of not having electricity supply while the failed component or equipment is being replaced.”

The vandalism has left the water purification plant operating on a generator for over three months.

“Generating electricity from a diesel generator is more expensive compared to the grid supply,” adds Andrews. “New supplies of conductors and poles have had to be ordered from the factory and will be on the grid supply as soon as the new overhead lines have been constructed.”

The vandalism has a knock-on effect on service delivery, Andrews says.

“The time and money that is being committed to reinstating vandalised infrastructure means fewer resources for infrastructure maintenance and upgrades in other ­areas,” he says.

“We are appealing to members of the public to be vigilant and report any suspicious activities at or near the electrical infrastructure to the police on 10111 or the City’s metal theft unit or the emergency line on 021 480 7700.”

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