Surge: residents to claim damages

2010-02-03 00:00

NOW that power has been restored to the Chase Valley homes affected by a power surge that blew out plug points on Monday, the residents will assess the damage with a view to lodging claims against the Msunduzi Municipality.

Some residents told The Witness that when they were told that their electricity was restored early on Monday evening, they were hesitant to switch on their lights.

Some arranged for an electrician to test their power boxes and the mini-substation, and once the tester gave them the go ahead, they switched on their lights one by one.

One resident reported that one of his plugs caught fire and he suspects that the wiring was damaged during the surge.

“We’re not sure if it’s the wiring, but we’ll have to get an electrician to go from house to house and check,” he said.

Ward councillor Dave Ryder said he went to some of the affected homes yesterday and at all of them the electricity was connected and in working order.

He said he met a municipal official yesterday and together they drafted a notice that was delivered to the affected households.

Ryder said the notice informs residents that they can submit claims to the municipality, but that the municipality is not admitting liability.

He stressed that the municipality will investigate whether it is liable and then take it from there.

One resident was not amused, saying: “What’s there to investigate? It’s very clear. We just need to quantify damages and they must pay.”

Maxwell Mthembu, the process manager for electricity at Msunduzi Municipality, said the electricity department managed to sort out the problem but that plug points were messed up.

He said the municipality will investigate whether it is liable for damages.

Failure to tighten a neutral wire properly could have been the cause of the high-voltage surge that destroyed appliances in the Chase Valley area on Monday.

Speaking to The Witness, an electrical engineer (who asked for his name to be withheld) said yesterday that if 380 volts had gone through the line, light bulbs would be damaged.

He said the risk of fire while the high voltage was coming through the plugs was great.





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