Power problems enrage Primrose residents

“On June 19, our neighbour died. One theory attributed this to power outages. According to rumours, she was unable to maintain her heat due to health issues.”

Last week’s lengthy power outage that hit large parts of Germiston was not the only one to cause frustrations for residents.

ALSO READ: Local community battles with power outages

Frustrated Primrose residents went to the Energy Department Depot to express their disgust at having no power for weeks.

Before last week’s outage, which by June 23 was continuing, residents of Mignonette Road and Hollyhock and Walkers avenues were without electricity for 12 days.

The residents complained to GCN on June 20 that the CoE energy department’s empty promises and “callous demeanour” had made them reach a breaking point.

Primrose residents gathered to discuss a way forward because the power problems continued to affect them.

Wanting answers, they marched to the Junction Road CoE electrical depot and stores.

Last week’s outage happened while residents were there. The CoE told Clr Wendy Morgan the power would not be restored anytime soon.

The residents waited two hours for communication, which infuriated them more. They told GCN that these problems come to light every winter.

ALSO READ: Germiston residents battle with constant power outages

As someone diagnosed with sleep apnoea, Emilia Potgieter of Walkers Avenue said by June 20, she had been without power for 12 days, which affected her health.

“My breathing is irregular due to sleep apnoea. Obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA) is the most prevalent kind.

“It can result in more severe issues, so it needs to be treated and managed,” she said.

“I use a continuous positive airway pressure machine to keep my upper airway passages open and prevent snoring,” she explained.

“The battery has an eight-hour lifespan. My partner has to charge it at his place of work. On weekends, I connect it to a generator. It is difficult to cook, do the dishes or shower. We had to buy a camping shower,” said Potgieter.

According to Potgieter, she uses a generator to power the house’s lights while sharing energy with her two tenants.

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“I sent Facebook messages to all the CoE managers and political parties, and I also contacted all of them, but no one replied.

“Without power, how will we survive? We pay our municipal bills and are still not prioritised,” said Potgieter.

”We had to protest two years ago, and it was successful then,” Thembisile Ndzubane of Mignonette Road told GCN.

”The energy department disregarded citizens and our councillors. We are gatvol of these power problems. Who will hold the city responsible for such incidents? Our food rots, and who will make up for our losses?”

Other residents on Nasturtium Avenue joined to support the residents at the depot.

Solomon Buthelezi, from Nasturtium Avenue, said he supported the residents because he also suffered regular power outages.

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He said when the residents of Mignonette Road had power, the residents on Nasturtium Avenue had none.

“The solution is to use gas stoves and candles to light up the house when we do not have power,” he said.

“Because it is winter, we are forced to go to bed early. The managers in the energy department must understand that when a councillor marches into their office, it is because of the residents’ desperation,” said Buthelezi.

Anna Ruytenberg has been without power for more than 20 days. Her electricity went off at 02:00 on May 29.

She said someone tried to steal their overhead power supply cable by cutting it into two parts with a homemade knife she later found lying next to her wall.

“We logged a call on the same day at 06:13 and obtained a reference number.”

Ruytenberg said she later realised her call was incorrectly logged under street lights, so she logged a second complaint on June 1 and again obtained a reference number.

“For 20 days, we struggled to receive service or feedback from the CoE,” said Ruytenberg.

ALSO READ: CoE to prioritise power outages over street lights in level four

“We have temporarily fixed the power cable ourselves because we cannot continue without power.

The temporary cable with our amp breaker is not strong enough to allow the fridges and other kitchen appliances to run normally.

“Sixteen days after the event, I was informed by the call centre that we must go to the offices to obtain an affidavit for the theft. We must also pay R1 500 for the replacement of the damaged cable.

“Why should we pay for Ekurhuleni infrastructure? I was also told Ekurhuleni was at our premises twice already, but we have not received a single call or seen an Ekurhuleni vehicle close to our property.

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“I have reported this incident to our ward councillor, and a third call was logged at the call centre on June 6. Therefore, three calls and no attempt from Ekurhuleni to replace the electricity supply cable.

“What more must we do to have the power fixed?”

Residents marched to the electrical depot and stores on Junction Road to demand answers to the unsolved power outages going on for two weeks and counting.

Ward 36 Clr Wendy Morgan said a stolen cable caused last week’s outage.

“When the outage in the Germiston area is resolved, they will address the additional problems,” she explained.
GCN sent a request for comment to CoE regarding last week’s lack of power.

Spokesperson Zweli Dlamini said teams on the ground located the fault on the cable that caused the Germiston outage.

“The fault is about 1.5km from the Germiston North substation.

“The old cable was exposed after excavation, and the faulty section was cut. Thereafter, they started joining the cable,” said Dlamini on June 22.

“The work is time-consuming, and there could be discovery work as we progress, which could lead to delays,” said Dlamini at the time.

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