Surge fries another city area

2010-02-10 00:00

A SUDDEN power surge that was almost double the normal voltage damaged electrical appliances in several homes in Winston Road, near Mayor’s Walk, on Monday evening.

The power surge comes just a week after a similar surge in Chase Valley is said to have increased the normal voltage from 230 to 423.

The residents said they were told by the Msunduzi electricity department that the surge was caused by a blown sub-station in the area.

Aiden Pretorius, an electrician and one of the affected residents, said he detected the increased voltage when it started at about 9 pm.

“I first noticed that the lights in the kitchen had gone off. Those are the only lights we keep on at night. And then my girlfriend started complaining that the TV was making funny noises.”

Then the fan, which had not been working for the past year, started spinning powerfully. “That was when I realised that there was too much electricity inside the house. I tested it and it confirmed that the voltage registered at 423 instead of 230.”

He said he immediately turned everything off, but the surge had affected a number of his electrical appliances and they had “a burning smell”. He estimated that the damage was about R25 000.

“My computer and ADSL modem were damaged. The other appliances such as the TV — I am not sure if they are damaged because they are still not working.”

Other residents were also affected, and one woman spent the night at her son-in-law’s home after a fire broke out at her house following the power surge.

Pretorius blamed incompetence at the municipality. “This is the lack of proper maintenance,” he said.

Maxwell Mthembu, electricity process manager in the Msunduzi Municipality, said they were aware of the incident and that workers attended to it.

He said the cause was a break in a neutral point, which had caused the power to surge. He said such an incident is rare and impossible to detect in advance.

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