‘If the outages continue, I will have to move’ — Honeydew residents on City Power's poor service

23 May 2023 - 07:09
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City Power says that from June its customers will get power cuts for a maximum of two hours over a 24-hour period. Stock image.
City Power says that from June its customers will get power cuts for a maximum of two hours over a 24-hour period. Stock image.
Image: 123RF/mushroomsartthree

Some residents in Honeydew, Roodepoort, are at their wits end as they have not had electricity since last week Monday.

Susan Rademeyer has been a resident in the area for 14 years and says the outages in recent months have been the worst she has experienced.

“Since roughly late last year when the load-shedding started running daily, we have had power outages for days on end. If they do not steal the cables in the green belt, they vandalise the substations or the boxes outside the complexes. The problems come in with City Power.

“They hardly give any feedback on what is going on. Their turnaround times have reduced dramatically. They leave you in the dark to the point that earlier this year, residents in our area took to the streets to get their attention and to have our issues resolved,” she said.

Last week was the worst it has ever been, she added. “We logged original calls for the one phase that went out in our complex, only to get vandalised during the evening and be off until yesterday afternoon, when only some residents' power was restored. 

“Now the rest of us are left in the dark with no feedback or resolutions at all. Our ward councillor Jacques Hoon has not even bothered to respond to the email we sent him because of this outage. 

“And when you do get feedback it is conflicting. They will start to say techs have been dispatched. Four to six hours later they say it is a trip. Another four hours later 'oh no, sorry the cables are faulty'.

“Then it ends up being cables that were stolen and so it carries on. They cannot give you an ETA so you can plan around it,” Rademeyer said.

She said it was hurting her pocket as she is a single and lives on her own.

“I am spending additional funds on food as I can never cook a meal for myself. I have to fork out money to have my clothes washed at the laundromat, as I never have power.

“I wake up and have no power. I have to take a cold shower and then go to work. I come home from work, have to go and buy takeaways and have a cold bath. And the cycle repeats itself. I have had to throw away thousands in food I had in my freezer because it has gone bad from not having power.

“I live alone so you can imagine the worries I have about my security and wondering how I am going to make it through the month.

“I have been there a great deal of my life, and love my home. But if it carries on like this, I will be forced to look for a new place to call home.” Rademeyer said.

Another resident in Honeydew Ridge, Petro Vorstenbosch, is frustrated as she has been logging calls with City Power but some units in her complex still do not have electricity.

“That evening (Monday) at 8.30pm they arrived and said they could do nothing. By Tuesday morning the whole complex was down and several other complexes in the area. For two days we had teams coming round saying they did not know why and that was it. Also they did not know where our power comes from.

“Day 7 and the six units were still without power. Several units logged calls and at 3.30pm no response. It was again escalated to two councillors and the general manager (of City Power).

“They just don`t care.” said Vorstenbosch.

Shaz Farao said City Power’s contractors have had challenges locating the source of their electricity.

“As a service provider, it is not only your job but your duty to make sure your staff or subcontractors are equipped to deal with this ongoing situation. This is not the first time we have been without electricity.

“We had to take to the streets the last time to get some results. You have excuses upon excuses of vandalism, no spare parts, don’t know where your power comes from. Furthermore, your teams rock up with no keys to unlock the electrical boxes. They don’t carry spares even if they troubleshoot.  

“Financially, it is costing thousands of rand of wasted food, outsourced laundry, constant purchasing of gas and candles, hiring of generators and petrol to keep them running.” Farao said.

City Power acknowledged the area was plagued with problems. 

In a written reply to TimesLIVE, spokesperson Isaac Mangena said theft and vandalism were among the issues responsible. 

“The mini substation supplying the area ... was vandalised on the low voltage side ie. it could be repaired and restored. The delay was caused by a shortage of material and for this we apologise,” Mangena said. 

“With the large number of vandalism and theft incidents, we are unable to keep up with the supply demand in terms of material. With the larger stages of load-shedding we lose material faster than we can replenish. At some point we had to replace nine mini-substations in one week, because of vandalism incidents. When the Mozart mini substation was vandalised it affected supply to various complexes in Honeydew. Yesterday, the contractor competed the repairs and supply was restored.” 

Mangena said Honeydew, Honeydew Ridge and Wilgeheuwel are fed from the Boothill switching station which has frequently tripped after load-shedding in the past few weeks due to overload.

He said the area was rapidly expanding which was stretching capacity. 

“Plans to increase capacity are under way, which includes the completion of the nearby Lutz substation which will be able to take some of the load. We urge customers to please bear with us and switch off non-essential electrical appliances such as stoves, geysers, kettles to curb an inrush current when power is restored at the end of load-shedding,” he added. 


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