Bulwer Street blasts

2015-08-24 09:17

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FRUSTRATED Bulwer Street residents say they feel unsafe after an electrical box exploded several times in four months.

The electrical box situated on the pavement near 489 Bulwer Street first exploded four months ago, causing about 100 households to endure a 14-hour complete blackout.

The Msunduzi municipality said illegal electricity connections had led to the power surges.

Resident Mahomed Ishack Shaikh said when the first explosion occurred, the flames leapt over his fence and approached the verandah.

“My wife and grandchildren were alone at home and were in a panic when they saw the flames approaching the house. They were completely shell-shocked,” said Shaikh.

Shaikh said someone called the emergency services who extinguished the fire. His electric fence around his home was damaged by the raging fire.

“The electricity department attached a temporary unit and the electricity was restored. They also dug up the pavement around the electricity box,” said Shaikh.

Two weeks ago, another explosion occurred, this time from the temporary unit, which resulted in another blackout.

Last week, residents were left without electricity for more than 10 hours after a third explosion left them demanding better service from the municipality.

“For how long are we going to be treated like second-class citizens? The municipality dug up the pavement four months ago and now pedestrians have to walk on the shoulders of the road in order to get past. It is frustrating and endangering lives,” said Shaikh.

Shaikh said residents are making an “impassioned” plea to the municipality to remove the unit completely and place it elsewhere.

“The municipality needs to move the unit someplace else … the residents are up in arms,” warned Shaikh.

However, Msunduzi municipality says it is not as simple as just removing the electricity box and placing it elsewhere. The issue of illegal electricity connections is rife in the area, said the municipality.

“The area referred to … is one of the areas affected by illegal electricity connections to our infrastructure that result in the system overload causing the electricity meter box to explode,” said Msunduzi municipality acting spokesperson Nqobile Madonda.

Madonda added that the issue of pavements will be dealt with by the relevant department in due time.
Read more on:    msunduzi municipality  |  pietermaritzburg  |  electricity

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