Lesedi to blame for power failure

They were quick to blame Eskom for yesterday’s (June 13) power outage, but HERAUT has since learned that the blackout that forced several businesses to close their doors occurred due to a lack of routine maintenance by Lesedi Local Municipality’s (LLM) Electrical Department.

Our findings were confirmed by three independent sources who further allege that the manager in charge of LLM’s electrical department does not have the applicable required NQF 6 diploma which is the minimum requirement for this position.

Power was cut to most parts of Heidelberg, Bergsig, Overkruin, Shalimar Ridge and Rensburg at approximately 05:45.

Residents who live in close proximity to Heidelberg SPCA reported sparks emanating from the nearby substation.

Our sources maintain that the explosion took place because routine maintenance on several power cables (that needed to be protected at the substation) as well as the refilling of battery cells with distilled water was not done.

This caused a surge which blew out the supply from Eskom.

It is further alleged that while requisition forms were filled in to get the equipment needed to do the maintenance work, the manager of the department would not sign off those forms.

“The crisis could have been averted with supplies that would not have cost more than R2000,” our source said.

Several businesses in Heidelberg’s industrial area were forced to shut down operations for the day – costing the local economy millions.

Heidelberg’s third largest employer was one of the companies.

“We were forced to send our workers home with only four hours pay for the day,” a ceo told HERAUT.

He said that the financial loss due to the interruption in production would be significant.

He added that the his workforce would have to work (and be paid) overtime to ensure all production deadlines are met and also highlighted that insurance companies only pay out for losses of this nature when electricity supply was interrupted for more than 24 hours.

Several other industries had to close their doors.

Power to residential areas was restored by 09:30 while most industrials were left in the dark until 12:30.

  AUTHOR
Michael Mentz
Journalist

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