Residents left in the dark as City Power struggles with replacing equipment
Businesses and residents in Roodepoort, west of Johannesburg, have endured long power outages recently due to vandalism and theft of infrastructure in the past month, with an average of three incidents a day.
Among those affected is manufacturing company, Welding-Alloys South Africa, which has had to turn to generators for three weeks at immense cost.
City Power spokesperson Isaac Mangena told TimesLIVE that the company suffered after thieves vandalised an electricity transformer that it has not been able to restore due to running low on stock because of high cases of theft in the region.
Mangena said in the past months about 100 mini-substations were vandalised, cables and electric fuses stolen, which led to widespread outages in and around Roodepoort.
“The latest incident was the vandalism [beyond repair] of the Progress Road, Lindhaven mini-substation on Monday, 29 May.
“Infrastructure crimes such as theft and vandalism have an adverse impact on supply to our customers. Such incidents seem to be on the rise as we approach winter,” he said.
Between Monday and Tuesday, Mangena said the call centre in Roodepoort received more than 600 calls from customers. He said the entity replaced seven mini-substations in the past two weeks in Wilropark, Fleurhof, Allen’s Nek, Groblerpark and Ruimsig.
“Each mini-substation costs approximately R800,000 and there is no stock in the stores due to the high number of vandalism incidents we are experiencing,” he said.
Mangena said City Power used a generator to supply power to a vandalised mini substation in Wildevy earlier this month due to the low mini-substation stock.
The entity has been in the spotlight after TimesLIVE reported the tragedy of Neyamiah Eaton (3) who died on her way to hospital after her oxygen machine ran flat when her parent's home in Bromhof was affected by a power outage.
City’s power infrastructure theft has been a continuous problem. From July 2022 to February this year, the entity reportedly spent R380m repairing damaged electricity infrastructure.
“City Power is encouraging the community to take charge of the infrastructure through the community partnership programme on security of electricity and network infrastructure.
“The communities can, through this programme, install alarms, locks on doors, palisade fencing and join your community neighbourhood watch groups. Interested parties can request application forms by sending email to firstname.lastname@example.org,” Mangena said.
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