City finds source of Hilton’s power outages

2013-01-31 00:00

MSUNDUZI Municipality officials believe they have found a solution to the repeated power outages in Hilton.

The repair team on Tuesday found that the problem was far worse that they had expected.

The faulty cables that were causing power outages lie some two metres deep under Hilton Avenue at the entrance to the Hilton Quarry Centre.

To add to the drama, a technician was badly burnt and hospitalised when a sub-station he was working on exploded.

The municipal team, assisted by their Eskom counterparts, managed to get a temporary power supply going so that disruptions to residents’ lives could be minimised.

Municipal spokesperson Brian Zuma said the new plan was to reroute the cables to avoid digging up the road.

They would bypass the existing faulty cables and lay new ones away from the road. “This will entail some digging but we plan to minimise disruption at the Quarry Centre,” he said.

Zuma said work was expected to be completed in the next few days. “In the meanwhile, the temporary system will keep Hilton ticking.”

The explosion caused further delays as technicians had to get power from another ring feed. Repairs to the sub-station would cost about R100 000, and laying the new cable a further R250 000.

“Work will commence as soon as the new cable has been secured, and during the process of laying the new cable,” Zuma said.

Deputy municipal manager for infrastructure Thokozani Maseko said the developer who extended the road over the servitude “cut corners, burying our cables without informing us”.

Meanwhile, Hilton’s power outage last night affected only a portion of the suburb.

Zuma said that after finding another power source for the suburb the team switched on different sections in phases.

A retired city engineer from Hilton who did not want to be name said there had been serious lack of infrastructural maintenance, no attempt to upgrade the old system of cables and transformers to meet the needs of the expanding population.

“There is a chronic lack of experienced and qualified personnel in the Msunduzi Municipality and a regrettable lack of management expertise and forward planning,” he said.

He said Msunduzi had failed to carry out its obligations in terms of it contract and should be dealt with accordingly.

“If necessary, the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (NERSA) should revoke the license of Msunduzi insofar as far as the supply of electricity to the Hilton area is concerned and request ESKOM, which has the expertise and capability, to take over the system immediately,” he said.

The technician who’s hands and face were badly burnt in the explosion was still in hospital.

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