JOHANNESBURG, September 12 – Johannesburg’s City Power has announced that it is on schedule to restore full power supply in the inner city by end of business on Tuesday.
“We hope that we should be able to restore 100 percent power by end of today. We are on schedule as all equipment has been installed,” City Power spokesperson Sol Masolo said.
“We are currently testing the installed cables and other equipment. This is a necessary and critical step which must take place before any of the newly installed equipment is energised.”
Parts of the Johannesburg inner city have been plunged into darkness for more than a week following theft of copper cables from underground tunnels.
A fire, which broke out during the brazen theft, damaged the cables and affected multiple feeders and load centre at various sub stations in the central business district.
Affected areas include Carlton Centre, the Premier’s Office, Cartlon Centre and multiple buildings and streets on Jeppe, Plein, Pritchard, President, Albert Sisulu, Bree, Marshaltown, Karzene, Selby and Durban streets.
On Monday, City Power said that its technicians would have full restoration of electricity by late Monday evening or Tuesday morning. Electricity to Prichard Street had been restored on Monday before power went off again.
Masolo said that a further impediment to technicians’ progress in restoration had been the confined and dark spaces in the nine kilometre tunnel.
Businesses in downtown Joburg, including banks, restaurants and retail stores, have had to rely on generators to avoid closing shop while some residential flats have remained in absolute darkness.
Asked whether City Power had received any claims against damaged goods from residents and businesses due to the power outage, Masolo said that the City’s legal department deal with such matters.
“We have a normal claims process that customers follow by calling in (011) 490 7000. The City’s legal department deals with those,” Masolo said.
He said City Power customers can also download an insurance claim form from the entity’s website, fill it in and email it the insurance department on firstname.lastname@example.org where upon it would be forwarded to City Power’s insurers for their attention.
Masolo also said that City Power was in the process of improving security measures in and around the manholes and tunnels where heavy-current power cables are located, including partnering with law-enforcement authorities and bringing in new technologies.
The City’s investigation team led by the group forensic investigation department has already arrested 22 people in connection with the recent cable theft.