Outages cause panic for homeowners with alarms

2007-12-13 00:00

THE SA National Consumer Union (Sancu) has in a strongly worded statement called upon government and Eskom to take full responsibility for the national power outages.

Sancu vice chairwoman Ina Wilken said government and Eskom should stop selling power to other countries. "It did not take a genius to realise that after the elections in 1994, millions of new users would come on to the market and the supply at that stage would not be sufficient. Why was nothing done?

"Power shedding during the day is costing companies millions … it is the holiday season and many consumers do their shopping now to take to their homelands. Shopping centres are in darkness … restaurants have to serve salads … "

Wilken said the outages are a boon to criminals and people with alarms feel unsafe, "because a back-up battery cannot last forever".

Sancu has received calls from people too afraid to go on holiday, she said, as they will be leaving their homes vulnerable.

"If power shedding takes place when they are on holiday, is their alarm and electric fence going to kick in again?

"All these PR exercises in the paper and on TV are not helping consumers. Why is the minister of Minerals and Energy so quiet?"

Erica Johnson, Eskom’s managing director, systems operations and planning, said yesterday that since Wednesday, no load shedding has taken place. "However this … could change should any additional problem occur in the power system," she said.

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