A DARK Christmas looms for Pretoria east residents, who have since called on the City to shed light on their predicament.
Residents in Mooikloof, Faerie Glen, Zwavelpoort and Olympus have been plagued by random power outages in recent months.
Mathlodi Kgapola said her Mooi- kloof residence and surrounding estates had two outages at least twice a week without any explanation or warning.
Another resident, from Faerie Glen, said they were tired of the City’s “lame excuses”. These ranged from stormy weather and trees not being felled that disturbed electricity poles to cable theft. “Every time it is a new story,” said the resident.
She understood that even in the most well developed cities there were power outages, but “the City must let us know in time so we can make alternative plans for the festive season and security”.
Once criminals knew the City was not doing anything about the power outages, they would capitalise on it, especially during the festive season while families were away on vacation, she said.
Alarms and beams were not fully operational when there was a power failure, she added.
Marius Groenewald from Zwavelpoort said his smallholding had been inundated with power outages that put his family at risk.
Criminals thrived on chaos and darkness was their playground. “Load shedding provides both of these environments for lurking lawbreakers seeking to capitalise from this.”
MMC for Infrastructure Darryl Moss said power outages arose from a number of causes – cable theft, vandalism, trees falling on power lines, lightning strikes, cable faults, backlogs in maintenance and overloading of the energy network.
Moss said many of the power outages were unforeseen, and needed to be dealt with as they arose. The City had been upgrading the electrical network, which would reduce the number of outages.
“We have been putting measures in place to shorten the time that the power is out. We are seeing some success, but with the maintenance backlog it will take time to get everything sorted out.”
The outagein some areas in the east was a trip on the 132Kv line, which was identified quickly, and power soon restored, he said. “We do not see any reason for the residents to worry unduly. Outages will occur, but our electricity teams are on standby, and should be able to deal with the problems quickly.”
No maintenance work was planned on the network during the next month, he said, so there were no planned shutdowns in the pipeline until after the middle of January.
On the brighter side, there was a new water reticulation network for parts of Pretoria east.
The eight-month project, is expected to be completed by August 2018. During construction residents would be duly notified of any water supply interruptions, he said.
“The R12.9million upgrade is part of an overarching city-wide project to replace old and dilapidated water networks,” the City said.
The area has been plagued by leaks and water supply interruptions over the years, causing frustration for residents especially in Elarduspark, Rietvalleipark and Waterkloof AH.
Many pipes needed replacing because they were past their design lifetime, and there was a R2billion hole in the budget for the work, the City said.