Residents urged to report electricity faults

While the recent spate of heavy rainfall in KwaZulu-Natal has brought some much needed relief to the province’s water supply constraints, the higher than average downpour has also wreaked havoc to utility infrastructure.

This has affected municipal service operations, especially electricity distribution.  Since the rainstorm earlier this week, the number of electricity related faults reported notched up into the thousands. Electricity outages became more prominent as the rains continued, leading to almost 1000 electricity faults being reported daily. The latest report as of July 28 indicates that there are still 2592 faults outstanding.

There are outages throughout the city, with some parts being more affected than others.  Below is an indication of the distribution of faults within eThekwini: Region Total Faults, Northern 472, North Western 374, Southern 607, Central 739, Western 158, South Western 242, Sub Total 2592.

Officials from the city’s Electricity Department have been working around the clock since the beginning of the week to restore electricity in the affected areas. The officials were out and about even in the rainy weather, and as a result, only 430 of the above faults are outstanding for more than 24 hours.

Most customers are quickly restored as the faults can be easily repaired, but in cases where serious damage to infrastructure has been experienced, the outage times are prolonged.  Some of the typical problems experienced as a result of the inclement weather conditions:

  • The foundations supporting electricity poles have washed up causing collapse of the poles as well as the supporting lines.
  • Electricity field kiosks/substations that allow for the controlled switching of circuits have been damaged. Lightning strikes were also experienced, adding to damages.
  • Underground cables have been damaged leading to trips and outages. Cable repair times are lengthy because before repairing a cable, the faulted spot first needs to be identified. Subsequently the soil covering the cable needs to be dug up in order for repair work to be undertaken.
  • Illegal connections overload circuits especially in colder weather conditions as the demand for heating increases. Greater electricity infrastructure theft is also experienced.

Residents are encouraged to report faults to the city’s Electricity’s Contact Centre on 080-13-13 111, SMS 083-700-0819 or email custocare@elec.durban.gov.za.

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