MSUNDUZI ON POWER CRISIS: ‘We're sorry it's all such a mess but we now have to load shed’

Msunduzi Municipality offers explanation for constant power outages in the city.
Msunduzi Municipality offers explanation for constant power outages in the city.

Following the ongoing public outcry over the past weeks by irate Msunduzi Municipality residents about the frequent and unannounced power outages throughout the City, Msunduzi’s Mayor Mayor Mzi Thebolla has finally explained the problem and offered an apology.

The City has also finally come up with a “load reduction” schedule which the public has been calling for.

Mayor Thebolla said in a statement issued yesterday the municipality faces persistent electricity outages due to a range of challenges that put a strain on the already ageing infrastructure.

ALSO READ | Pietermaritzburg suburbs in crisis with weekend-long water and power outages

These are adverse weather conditions, old and overloaded infrastructure, theft and vandalism, illegal electricity connections, lack of sufficient capital and budget, lack of sufficient maintenance budget, and high vacancy rates.

He said the municipality has made submissions to the National Treasury and Development Bank of South Africa (DBSA) with the intention of sourcing funds to upgrade the aging infrastructure.

Thebolla said the current equipment failures affecting various areas as a result of the issues raised above are: Northern areas, CBD (Lower and Upper), Hilton, Sweetwaters, Blackridge, Westgate, Foxhill, Mpumelelo, Claridge, Woodlands, Sobantu, Tamboville, Thembalihle, Scottville, Town bush, Chase valley and all surrounding areas.

“The technical team is working around the clock to mitigate the challenges that we are currently facing, which have left some areas without electricity for an extended period of time. “The case in point is the failure of the transformer and high voltage cables at the Retief Substation, which has forced the municipality to implement load reduction to the affected areas as an interim measure to protect against the total collapse of infrastructure while the repairs are in progress.”
Mayor Mzi Thebolla

The mayor said the failure of the Retief Substation equipment is anticipated to be resolved over a longer term.

ALSO READ | Pietermaritzburg residents without electricity for days as City staff allegedly embark on a go-slow

Thebolla said they have developed a load reduction schedule in order to assist consumers with the expected power interruptions.

power outages
Msunduzi Municipality's power outage schedule.PHOTO:
Msunduzi Municipality's power outage schedule.PHOTO:
Msunduzi Municipality's power outage schedule.PHOTO:

He said the municipality is trying to source funding to upgrade its infrastructure through a number of revenue initiatives, grant applications as well as partnering with the private sector.

“We are appealing to residents to pay for services considering that the loss of revenue contributes to the strain of sustaining infrastructure and service delivery, since maintenance alone costs millions of rands.

“Our communities must refrain from illegal connections, cable theft and vandalism. If perpetrators are identified, they must be reported to law enforcement agencies as it constitutes crime. We apologise to all the residents of Msunduzi for any inconvenience that may be caused,” said Thebolla.


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