Power outage: Hilton residents and mayor furious

2011-05-05 00:00

MSUNDUZI Mayor Mike Tarr was spitting mad and residents were furious yesterday when a power outage in Hilton — planned for maintenance work — that was supposed to last two hours ended up lasting many more.

By 8 pm the bad news was that the power would be out for most of the night.

This was after more than 10 power outages in two weeks and after promises of a R10 million revamp of the Hilton power line.

The mayor’s fury was over what he described as the incompetence of staff who, when they realised that the problem would take longer to fix, should have just switched back to the old system they were using, so that power could be restored quickly.

When The Witness contacted him just after 7 pm he said he had just come out of a meeting and an instruction had gone out to the staff to stop all repairs on the dead line, re-instate the old system of using a bridging device between the two lines going up to Hilton and get the power restored.

He said he had never come under as much abuse as he has over this issue.

Residents were irate about not getting through to the after-hours line at the municipality to find out what was going on. The Witness was first told that power would be restored by 7.30 pm. It turned out that there were bigger problems. By 8 pm the newspaper learnt that the line was going to take much longer to repair and that the team would be working through the night.

An electrical engineer said the problems boils down to a lack of experience.

After residents had so many outages, the team should have patrolled the line first and checked for faults. If they found any they should have postponed the maintenance work, knowing it would take longer than two hours to repair.

Unable to get through to the municipality, residents took to phoning The Witness. The nightshift switchboard operator was inundated with abusive calls as The Witness had reported yesterday that the power outage would last for two hours between 11 am and 1 pm.  

The Witness was unable to contact municipal spokesperson Brian Zuma. An SMS and voice message were left on his phone.








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