Fury in Joburg as blackouts follow load-shedding (then there's the rain)

Johannesburg City Power expects to take at least two to three days to clear all its outstanding calls from residents about this week's load-shedding by Eskom.
Johannesburg City Power expects to take at least two to three days to clear all its outstanding calls from residents about this week's load-shedding by Eskom.
Image: Felix Lipov/123RF STOCK PHOTO

Johannesburg City Power expects that it will take at least two to three days to clear all its outstanding calls from residents about continued electricity outages after this week's load-shedding by Eskom.

"I am furious about the power outages‚ because at my home I haven't had electricity since Wednesday‚" Lucienne Croci said on Friday.

Croci‚ owner of Kulanga Cottages Bed and Breakfast in Linden‚ said she had been forced to turn away four potential customers due to the power outages and load-shedding.

"They said they would get back to me‚ but they didn't so I lost out on revenue. We are law-abiding taxpayers‚ paying our bills. When we don't pay our bills as a business they want to come and cut you off‚ but we have to accept there is load-shedding and all this happening around us. I don't think that is fair‚" she said.

Croci is not alone. Affected residents from several suburbs have vented angrily on social media about not having electricity‚ despite Eskom having lifted its load-shedding on Friday.

City Power said it was attending to more than 400 calls from customers on Friday morning alone.

It said 159 of the calls came from the Hursthill depot‚ which covers areas such as Auckland Park‚ Rosebank‚ Northcliff and Cresta. The Reuven depot‚ which covers Glenvista‚ Southgate‚ Kiblerpark‚ Naturena‚ Mondeor and Winchester‚ was also affected.

City Power said the rotational load-shedding had "serious knock-on after-effects" on the network.

"Our system took a serious knock during load-shedding.

"Most of our equipment - which is old - failed‚ including switch-gear and cables‚" said City Power CEO Lerato Setshedi.

Isaac Mangena‚ City Power spokesperson‚ said on Friday: "During load-shedding implemented by Eskom this week‚ City Power suffered serious losses due to‚ among others‚ cables stolen by thieves taking advantage of the power being off.

"We also had several of our mini sub-stations and pole-mounted transformers popping and exploding due to inrush current during restoration of power after load-shedding."

He said that when the system is out‚ cable thieves know that they have a few hours to help themselves to cables and equipment‚" said Mangena.

"When the electricity comes back customers think that we are not restoring or that load-shedding is continuing for longer than planned. Investigations later reveal that infrastructure has been tampered with."

Ward 117 councillor Tim Truluck said some residents in Blairgowrie had been without electricity for four days.

"Load-shedding plus the rain‚ plus more load-shedding and more rain‚ created an Armageddon in our area. We have very old infrastructure‚" he said.

The suburb has also fallen victim to a cable theft gang in recent days.

Truluck said the cable theft in Blairgowrie was masked by other "bigger problems".

"That area [Blairgowrie] had two or three sets of load-shedding and then it tripped yesterday [Thursday] when the power came on."

He said other areas that were affected were Saxonwold and Parkwood.

Unplanned power outages were also affecting some areas of Roodepoort‚ including Weltevreden Park and Radiokop.

"Communities must bear with us as we try to reverse this. We have pooled all our resources to ensure every complaint is attended to. We apologise to the residents for the inconvenience‚" said City Power's Setshedi.

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