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By Faizel Patel

Senior Digital Journalist

City Power staff have to avoid attacks while attending to thousands of outages

City Power said the power outages have been exacerbated by stage 5 and 6 load shedding and the persistent downpours

As Gauteng prepares for more rain this week exacerbated by stage 5 load shedding, City Power said it is still dealing with a backlog of over four thousand power outages.

This comes after destructive rainfall battered some parts of Johannesburg, damaging infrastructure and plunging some areas into extended darkness.

Load shedding part of problem

City Power said the power outages have been exacerbated by stage 5 and 6 load shedding and the persistent downpours in the past week.

“Our SDs are hard at work tackling the Medium Voltage outages and a rising number of individual Low Voltage calls, most of which are from the areas that have been the hardest-hit by the recent heavy storms.”

Thousands of outages

“This morning we opened up with over 4700 outage calls, with half of those over 24hrs. Roodepoort and Hursthill have been struggling to recover from the impact of the storms,” the utility said.

Soweto and Lenasia residents are the worst affected by flash floods which left many substations submerged.

City Power CEO Tshifularo Mashava said the rain has posed a huge challenge to the restoration of electricity.

“About three thousand of those numbers are only into areas which is the Hursthill and Roodepoort areas. We still have some customers off, but it is within the parameters we can cope with.”

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Attending to outages

MMC for Environment and Infrastructure says City Power teams are working around clock to assist customers affected by the power outages.

“The team is working 24/7 to ensure that with the storm and the flood caused outages are being restored immediately. We know there are many, many calls outstanding, all hands on deck, we are going to get this sorted out.”

Technicians attacked

Meanwhile, City Power said it has decided to pull its resource out of Jeppestown, Joburg, following the attack on technicians.

It said the team, comprising four technicians, were attending to outage calls on Sunday morning, and were connecting customers on the overhead lines around Wolhuter and Auret Street in Jeppestown, when they were attacked by at least six unknown criminals.

“The six men pointed our technicians with guns and took phones and money from them.  They also assaulted them, leaving one badly injured.  All these happened in full view of the community. The technicians were there to assist with electricity.”

No assistance in hostile areas

“We decided not to finish the repairs and we pulled our team out of the area until their safety is guaranteed.  We call on the police to do everything to ensure the criminals are arrested and brought to book,” City Power said.

City Power said the incident comes after attacks on its teams in Hillbrow and Alexandra last month, which left one technician hospitalized.

“We have already decided not to attend to outage calls at night in some hostile communities for the safety of our property and technicians, until those communities guarantee their safety,” it said.

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ALSO READ: City Power in ‘disaster mode’ as it battles outages caused by devastating Joburg storms

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