ray of hope for dark city

BUSINESSES and residents in the Johannesburg CBD who have been in the dark for the past five days may have to wait for another day to have electricity back.

BUSINESSES and residents in the Johannesburg CBD who have been in the dark for the past five days may have to wait for another day to have electricity back.

About 40 blocks were left without electricity after a substation went up in flames on Sunday morning.

Underground cables had been damaged by the fire which was first spotted at the corner of Loveday and Bree streets.

City Power has since been able to reconnect more than 75 percent of the affected areas.

It took about 17 hours for the fire engines to put out the fire, which had caused havoc in the city already messed up by the municipal workers' strike.

"We believe that by Friday all the buildings will have been reconnected," said Louis Pieterse, City Power director of engineering operations. "Though we are currently unable to estimate the extent of the damage, the cost will probably run into millions of rands."

Pieterse also said the cause of fire was yet to be established.

Businesses closer to the Bree Street substation were already counting losses in millions of rands. Jabulani Ngidi, who was forced to close down his business, Satis Tavern, estimated his loss for Monday at R100000.

Apart from running the tavern, he also supplies other pubs in the CBD with alcoholic beverages.

"City Power gave me a power generator today (yesterday) for which I have to pay R600. But since then, business has been slowly picking up," said Ngidi.

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