Parts of city still in the dark

2013-01-10 00:00

FOUR days after the fierce storm hit Pietermaritzburg on Sunday, some homes in the city are still in the dark.

Electricity to some homes was reportedly reconnected, with some residents only getting it for a while, with the power supply being intermittent.

A Hilton resident said his electricity returned for about an hour yesterday.

The resident, who did not want to be named, said the supply did not appear to be at full strength in that brief period.

Luella Joubert, of Woodlands, who is dependant on insulin, said she will have to throw her medication away because she could not store it in the fridge.

“This is a costly exercise,” Joubert said.

She was puzzled that some houses in her street had electricity while others, including hers, did not have power.

Carol Smith, of Hilton, was worried about her eye drops, which also need to be kept refrigerated. She was also concerned about her food.

“I gave some [food] to my son and will have to throw the rest away,” she said.

Shops in the area have also been hit hard by the outages.

Hilton Quarry SuperSpar manager Dash Dwarika said they had sold out of ice on Tuesday, but had more stock which came in yesterday.

He also said that they had sold out of candles on Monday.

“We did a roaring trade in pizzas while we had electricity in the shop, but on Tuesday, after our power went off again, we couldn’t make them because of hassles with our generator.”

The shop was still without power yesterday morning.

Dwarika said that they had also experienced problems with their tills without their main power supply.

“It’s not good at all. The outages are affecting some of the businesses here.

“Some of the smaller shops at the Quarry without generators are closed or are in darkness. They are losing a lot of business,” he said.

Dwarika added that restaurants with generators were doing a brisk trade as people without power at home opted to eat out.

At Hilton Gas Worx, manager Wayne Turnbull-Nel said that they had had to travel to Durban for an emergency restock of items in high demand.

He said they had received many inquiries about water-heating equipment, and had sold many more gas accessories. They had also been busy replenishing gas cylinders.

Turnbull-Nel added that it seemed that load-shedding was occurring in Hilton as areas seemed to alternate in terms of electricity supply.

The power outage also means that alarm systems are not functioning as their battery back-up supply is exhausted after a few days without power.

Rob Anderson, Red Alert security’s divisional general manager, said that the back-up battery would last four to seven hours.

“It is important to understand that the responsibility [to ensure security] shifts to them [homeowners] when there is no electricity,” Anderson said.

He said alternative security measures include ensuring that someone is always at home, posting a guard at home, getting a generator and replacing the battery.

The Royal Showgrounds is also trying to recover from the storm.

Royal Agricultural Society CEO Terry Strachan said the storm caused damage of about R500 000.

He said there was severe structural damage in some parts.

“We have lost some trees, a number of walls have collapsed and the structure above The Witness stand has been virtually destroyed,” he said.

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