Power cut causes big losses for businesses

2017-04-19 17:17
Managers of the Sleeping Bao B&B in Howick Road, Bert Loontjens, looks into an empty freezer after food had to be discarded due to the weekend power outage in the city.INSET: Co-managers at the Sleeping Bao B&B in Howick Road Colleen, Loontjens, holds up  a note from a disgruntled customer after the power outage in the city.

Managers of the Sleeping Bao B&B in Howick Road, Bert Loontjens, looks into an empty freezer after food had to be discarded due to the weekend power outage in the city.INSET: Co-managers at the Sleeping Bao B&B in Howick Road Colleen, Loontjens, holds up a note from a disgruntled customer after the power outage in the city. (Ian Carbutt)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

The days-long power outage in Pieter­maritzburg during the Easter weekend caused a lot of frustration and huge losses for many business owners.

A manager at The Sleeping Bao B&B in Wembley, Colleen Loon­tjens, told The Witness that they ended up housing “very irate guests” over the weekend due to the power outage.

Loontjens said they realised that they did not have power on Sunday morning at around 3 am.

“I called the municipal call centre eight times and no one could explain why we had no electricity or when it would return.” She said their guests had to have cold showers.

“We didn’t know what to tell our guests and some of them became very irate and were contemplating leaving,” said Loontjens.

She said when other people called to book accommodation she had to tell them that they had no power and most of them ended up not booking at their B&B.

“We are usually fully booked during the Easter weekend but ended up losing a lot of business because of this power outage,” she said.

Loontjens said the bulk of the food stocked in their refrigerators used to prepare breakfast for the guests had also gone off.

One of their guests also left a disgruntled note for the B&B’s management complaining about the B&B not having electricity.

“I hope the municipality can assure us that this will never happen again,” said Loontjens

CEO of the Pietermaritzburg Chamber of Business Melanie Veness said there were significant costs for affected businesses.

Veness said supermarkets and fast food outlets were forced to run generators at great cost for the full power outage period in order to avoid thousands of rands worth of fresh produce being spoiled.

She also said security at premises in town was compromised as burglar alarms were running flat as a result of the extended outage.

“Some businesses employed additional on-site security to protect their premises. A number of businesses were closed for the weekend, so the costs to the economy could have been even worse if this had occurred during a normal week,” explained Veness.

Veness said her main concern was what caused the outage and whether the city’s electricity network was vulnerable to further such outages.

“We believe that the essential service delivery departments, like electricity and water, are under-resourced and that this should be addressed as a matter of urgency,” she said. Veness added that she was also personally affected by the power outages as she had relatives visiting her and her children were also home from university.

Msunduzi spokesperson Thobeka Mafumbatha said the problem was technical and assured everyone that it has been fixed.

Answering a question about whether the City had a plan in place for unanticipated major power outages in future, Mafumbatha responded by saying that this was a technical fault and “you can’t plan for something you have no control over or something that was not anticipated.”

“We cannot plan for technicalities,” said Mafumbatha.

Mafumbatha said all those who had requested claim forms had been given them and none had been submitted back to Msunduzi yet.

She said after the claim forms have been submitted they will undergo a legal process based on the municipal by-laws governing such matters.


Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  power outages

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Inside News24

 
ADVERTORIAL
Competition regulation for a growing and inclusive economy

ADVERTORIAL: The Competition Commission of South Africa is conducting advocacy work in the South African automotive aftermarket industry and has gazetted a Draft Code of Conduct for public comment.

/News
Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.