Power grid will get us through winter, says Mayor

The city seems to be plagued with power outrages during key festivals. A few years ago residents were outraged to be without power over Christmas.
Mayor Themba Njilo apologised to residents for the almost 48 hour outage that plunged nearly half the city in darkness saying the crisis was “beyond control”. Apart from being at the site of the damaged cable overseeing the repair to the damaged cable, Mayor Njilo called a meeting with senior officials to discuss measures needed to avoid further long-duration blackouts particularly with winter fast approaching.
“Since the outage I have had meetings with the general manager for Infrastructure Sabatha Nomnganga to determine what should be done to avoid this happening again. I know there is a level of anxiety from the city residents as we approach winter, however the discussion I had with the general manager has left me with a sense of assurance that the grid will not be under pressure,” said Njilo.

A total of R115 million has been set aside to deal with infrastructure with primary focus on electricity.
It appears this widespread power outrage was caused by a fire on one of the main cables running from the Chatterton substation to Pine Street. The fire caused an oil leak on the high voltage cable. Unlike cable fractures on smaller supply lines, this line is pressurised with oil from the substation and required specialised technology and skills prompting to city to call in engineers from out of town.

                               Eskom power line 

For the residents affected though, the mayor’s apology and undertaking from officials that the grid will hold up during winter, is of little consolation. Although some residents are considering claiming for losses associated to spoilt food in fridges and freezers from the city’s insurers, many are not going to bother.
A Prestbury resident told Maritzburg Sun that he would not be claiming for damages as he does not believe that anything will come out of it.
“We had the same problem back in 2015 where there was no power for three days.
We filled forms that we were advised to but when it came to paying nothing happened. So as things stand, I am not wasting my time going through such an exercise,”said the resident.
Neville Fourie, also from Prestbury said that the power outage was devastating, and a source of worry in the area as criminals use load shedding and power outages to attack in the dark when least expected
“I’m yet to understand the whole procedure of lodging claims but I’m sure even if I do nothing will come of it,” said Fourie.
Nevertheless, those residents who intend lodging a claim against the city’s insurers would need to access claims’ form, fill it in and submit it to Msunduzi’s claims’ division. Msunduzi spokeswoman Thobeka Mafumbatha said residents can get the form from AS Chetty building.
“As of now we can confirm that everything is back in order and power supply has been properly restored…Our challenge remains the fact that the electricity infrastructure is old and from time to time gives problems, but it is something that the municipality has been working on for quite a while,” Mafumbatha added.

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