Temporary power fix leaves residents fuming

2015-09-11 09:45
Democratic Alliance ward councillor Jaiheen Singh points out exposed electricity cables in Amod Road.

Democratic Alliance ward councillor Jaiheen Singh points out exposed electricity cables in Amod Road. (Ian Carbutt)

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CONCERNED and irritated, Orient Heights residents have criticised Msunduzi’s electricity department after a temporary fix has left live cables bare in their gardens and driveways.

Residents in Amod Road say they are “fed up” with the municipality after a “hack job” left live electricity cables outside their homes.

The job, which was supposed to be a temporary repair, has exposed electricity cables that channel more than 400 volts of power, sprawled over the driveways and gardens of some homes.

In July, seven households in the area fell victim to a spate of power cuts — some lasting up to two days — due to the illegal connections and theft by informal settlement dwellers living at the Privet Road camp who are accused by residents of short-circuiting the power supply there with their connections.

Ward councillor Jaiheen Singh said the matter was reported to the electricity department, municipal security and the police timeously. But although the electricity is restored (each time the illegal connections take place) after long delays, the temporary repair work makes it easy for culprits to once again reconnect their illegal wiring.

Singh said after the wires suffered extensive damage from illegal connections, the municipality dug up the cabling and made temporary repairs before they were to be replaced.

“I cannot see the logic. After the cables were damaged from illegal connections and theft, the electricity department decided to do a temporary job and lay the cables on the surface, making them easier targets,” Singh said.

However, the temporary job has now “been forgotten” and residents say they are worried about their own lives and the lives of pedestrians.

One resident, who asked not to be named, said the exposed cables — which run across his driveway, up along a steep embankment into his garden and then up into a tree — pose a “serious health hazard and a risk to everyone”.

“I am most concerned for the children from the informal settlement who regularly walk around the cables,” he said.

“Just last night [Tuesday] we had another power cut. These power cuts happen very often and it is because of the illegal connections that overload the power boxes.”

Another resident, Annie Naicker, who lives nearby, said the cables are an “eyesore” and the illegal connections also affect the electricity supply to her home.

Msunduzi Municipality spokesperson Nqobile Madonda said they are aware of the open trenches and live wires but are “still conducting tests”.

“We will complete the job shortly,” Madonda said. — Witness Reporter

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  power  |  electricity

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