Huge surge damage

2015-01-20 00:00

PENSIONERS at Allison Homes are counting their losses after a high electricity voltage surge ran through 30 homes there, destroying many appliances.

One resident said they believed a transformer in Burger Street had blown up and sent over 400 volts into the home for the aged at around 7.50 am on Friday last week. The power destroyed almost every electrical appliance that was connected at the time.

They lost fridges, fans, microwaves, television sets, washing machines, ­kettles and radios.

Annette Joubert said she was in her house when she heard a loud bang and saw smoke coming out of her appliances.

“We just got a fright and we rushed to switch off our main [switch] … We lost a computer, a fridge and other electronic appliances.”

She said after the surge they called an electrician who said the voltage had increased from 220v to over 400v.

“I have been living here for three years and this is the first time that something like this has happened here.

“This is an old age home and the people living here are pensioners. They do not have the money to replace any of the appliances they lost,” said Joubert.

Barbara Hardy said she heard a sub-station had blown up. She was fortunate that none of her appliances were connected to the power at the time.

“We switch off everything at night … My neighbour who lives across the street has lost many of her appliances, including her TV that blew up.”

Joe Uys said he lost close to R35 000 worth of electrical appliances. “I just heard something go bang and saw smoke coming out.” Uys said he got a terrible fright.

“From around 8 am [when the power surge occurred] to around 2 pm, I measured the electrical volts coming through the house and it was around 460 volts instead of the 220. People coming home and not aware of the surge would switch on the lights and they would just ­explode.”

Allison Homes CEO Bill Sutherland said: “We have never had a power surge like this. A lot of people are affected.

“These people are pensioners. They do not have insurance and their resources are very limited.”

Sutherland said it was disappointing that no official from the municipality had bothered to visit the home to check the damage caused.

An agent at the Msunduzi call centre said there was a report of a power surge but did not clarify what had caused the surge.

No official comment from the municipality had been received by the time of going to press.

Pelham resident Tony Ferreira is angry following two power surges that destroyed his equipment.

The last one was last week and it blew his light bulbs.

He said he woke up to the lights shining too brightly and the appliances making strange noises. His neighbour’s lights were also flickering.

“This time I only lost the light bulbs that blew up. We turned off the mains [main switch] before any damage could be done to the appliances.”

He said in December 2013, they experienced the same problem.

That power surge destroyed equipment including a TV, DStv, DVD player, video player, fridge and three fans.

He said the municipality refused to reimburse them for their losses.

He said surge happened because someone had tampered with a ­sub-station. The station is vulnerable to criminals, he added.

“It is locked with regular padlocks, They should put a fence around it.”

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