Msunduzi councillors given details on R900 mln electricity funding

2011-10-12 00:00

MSUNDUZI councillors were yesterday given details of more than R900 million in funding that the municipality has requested from national departments to upgrade its ageing electricity infrastructure and to protect electricity revenue.

Electricity manager Maxwell Mthembu told the infrastructure portfolio committee that R10 million has already been approved from the municipal infrastructure grant, which will go to sorting out some of the electricity problems.

He was presenting an in-depth report on network power failures and technical problems, giving details of pressing issues that cause repeated outages across the city.

His report attempted to quantify the financial situation and to identify the immediate risks.

“Our present network, and more especially at Sweetwaters, is experiencing frequent outages due to various reasons.

“The critical problem is the increase in power demand and load growth in the area.”

Mthembu said that to address the matter, three months ago Msunduzi requested R489 million from the department of finance, which will be used for revenue protection.

The municipality proposes to remove all meters from inside dwellings and install them outside to make illegal connections difficult.

“This will be done to ensure that the customers do not have access to the meters. However, they will be left with breakers and wires to ensure that they are able to switch lights on when the electricity trips.”

Mthembu said the council also requested a further R400 million from the department of energy to fix ageing sub-stations, which need urgent attention.

“We wanted to ensure that by the time Cop 17 [the international climate change conference in Durban in November] comes, all of our systems are in place.”

Inkatha Freedom Party caucus leader Dolo Zondi said is was happy about the extensive details in the report.

He proposed the committee approve the recommendations subject to administrator Sibusiso Sithole signing the report.

• thobani.ngqulunga

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