Despite having lost all faith in the powers that be, Hilton residents — a community really showing how nice they can be — are trying to help the municipality help them. The Hilton Ratepayers Association has called on the community to start reducing their power usage in order to assist the municipality. The Hilton Ratepayers Association last week released their first progress report since the formation of the task team, updating residents on power outages in Hilton and surrounding areas as well as the causes of the blackouts. Witness Warriors has been inundated with calls and e-mails every day from Hilton residents who are frankly just fed up with the constant power outages and feel lack of empathy for the municipality. One can actually hear the disappointment in the residents’ voices when they call in. Some are frantic that they have been once again plunged into darkness, but most are just despondent. It is as if they already know the answer: “Sorry sir but the municipality cannot tell us when the electricity will be restored.” “Apologies ma’m but as soon as I know anything I will let you know.” But through all their powerless times and the depressing state of affairs in their once pristine neighbourhood, Hiltonians are nonetheless still trying to power through.“We, the consumers of Hilton can and must help resolve this crisis by taking the problems to heart and reducing our electricity demand now, especially during the peak demand periods, between 5 am to 8 am and 5 pm to 8 pm daily.” The report said this could be done by conserving electricity at all times, including by improving household insulation to minimise the use of air conditioners in summer and heaters in winter. “Unless the majority, if not all, Hilton residents subscribe to this initiative immediately interrupted supplies will continue and could put the whole 33kV supply system into serious jeopardy, if not into total collapse. “Whether we like it or not, we are part of the current problem and have control over this part of the solution,” said the report. The report stated that one of the issues for the constant power supply trouble was as a result of a fault in one of the buried cable sections of the 33kV supply from Msunduzi’s Retief substation to the Crossways substation, supplying Hilton and part of Sweetwaters. It said the existing 33kV supply system is being stressed beyond its design limits and is critically overloaded without the necessary operating redundancy available. The report proposed an engagement with Msunduzi and uMngeni municipalities as well as the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (Nersa), Eskom and the Department of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) to resolve the issue.In the meantime, the report said there needed to be a reduction in electricity demand from the Crossways substation, especially during peak periods. So to the Hiltonians, well done on your perseverance and zest to save your community. Residents and communities across the country should take a page out of your book. In your darkest times, your community comes together and that is commendable. We all hope that the proposed engagement with the decision-makers comes about and that your quest to once again become a community with lights succeeds.