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Residents in the dark after storm

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A number of sub-stations in the city tripped on Sunday night as a result of the rain.

MANY Kimberley residents were left stranded after Sunday’s storm left large parts of the city without electricity.

Several residents, frustrated by a lack of communication from the Sol Plaatje Municipality, took to social media to obtain answers about the outages.

According to residents, calls to the control room of the municipality remained unanswered and some pointed out on the local authority’s Facebook page that they used up all their airtime waiting for the control room to answer.

“As grant beneficiaries, we used the opportunity presented by the president to buy groceries, only to have the food go to waste in our fridges,” one unhappy resident stated.

The Sol Plaatje Municipality confirmed on Tuesday that a number of sub-stations in the city tripped on Sunday night as a result of the rain.

Areas that were listed as being affected by the outages were Greater No2, Southridge, Monument Heights, Greenpoint, Record Stone, Werda area,  Kutlwanong, Soul City, Vergenoeg and Donkerhoek.

Municipal spokesperson Thoko Riet said that the Montshiwa 11 KV overhead line at the Tyala sub-station tripped on Monday, while the Southridge sub-station also experienced outages. Problems with the insulator were also experienced in Kutlwanong and Soul City.

Riet said power to most areas was restored on Tuesday, including the 66 KV that tripped at HA Morris sub-station.

The Sol Plaatje Municipality Facebook page also carried a warning on shoe tossing, stating that it is one of the reasons behind power outages when it rained. 

While electricity was restored to several areas early on Tuesday morning further reports of outages were received in the afternoon again.

One of those affected by the outages was Sassa beneficiary Milly Dougland from Club 2000, who said the power was already off when she went to town to withdraw her grant.

“I went to town to pay my bills, including the municipal one, and bought enough electricity as usual. I also ensured that I bought enough essential food for the fridge as I do not know what lies ahead in terms of the lockdown. To my surprise I returned home to find that the electricity was still off. That is when I panicked and started phoning around for an electrician because I knew that I would not be allowed to buy electricity if it was blocked,” explained Dougland.

She added that she was not sure whether the fault was at her meter box. “I later heard from the neighbours that I was not alone and everyone’s electricity was affected.

Another resident from Vergenoeg said he was also on the verge of sourcing an electrician after one of the municipality’s electricians told the children at his home that his meter box was faulty.

“After several trips and calls to the municipality, someone was deployed to my house and switched on the electricity and told my children that my meter box was faulty.

“Just after he drove off the power went out again. I was convinced that my electricity was at fault because, after the electricity was reinstated in my street, mine and two more houses were the only ones without power.

“But now I am relieved because we managed to communicate with the municipality and they sent another electrician who showed us that the problem was at the pole and not at my electrical box.

Sello Matsie from the municipality explained that the poor response time at the control room was due to the overwhelming number of calls.

“During such massive interruptions our call centre becomes overwhelmed by the number of calls.

“That is why we become proactive by communicating with the public to reduce the number of calls. Unfortunately, not everyone is reached but all efforts are made to inform the public about the different disruptions,” said Matsie.

Residents are encouraged to continue utilising the control room’s contact numbers to report faults.