Durban – Businesses and residents in Margate, on the South Coast, are up in arms following a mass power outage that left parts of the area without power from Friday night.
Businesses are concerned as they were expecting an influx of tourists.
Eskom said a transformer was struck by lightning and power was expected to be restored by tomorrow.
“The transformer was struck by lightning in the late hours of Friday and it failed all the tests conducted on Saturday. A new transformer has been ordered and the replacement will start later today with power estimated to be restored by Tuesday.”
Eskom apologised for the inconvenience caused and assured customers the fault was being attended to with urgency.
“Customers are urged to stay clear of any damaged infrastructure and to report faults. Electricity users are urged to treat all electrical lines, sockets, and appliances as live and dangerous.”
Lizelle Young, a guest house owner in Margate, said: “We are definitely concerned as it is the holidays. We are expecting a lot of guests and tourists and we need a stable power supply. We are not sure why it will take until Tuesday to restore the power. We are running a business. To be without power until Tuesday, is a long time, we are suffering losses during this time.”
Brandon Jansen van Vuuren, another guest-house owner, said the power outage came as businesses were already grappling with ongoing load shedding.
“We have constant load shedding and were forced to invest large amounts of money in solar panels and generators. Many of my friends have been complaining about the amount of business they are losing because of the outage.”
Jean Schmidt, ward 6 councillor in the Ugu District Municipality, said he had been inundated with calls and messages from residents about the power outage in Margate.
“Residents have been complaining they have food that is getting spoilt, they can’t have showers or hot meals. What do we do in a situation like this. Eskom is not responding to our queries as councillors; we can’t give residents straight answers of when the power will be back.
“Forty-eight hours is already a long time without power and there is no end in sight. We are still having load shedding and the few residents who did have power when the load shedding happened saw the power stay off when the load shedding ended.
“Businesses have been complaining to me about the revenue they are losing during this time. It’s a concern. How they will survive if they don’t know when the power will be restored? We are worried. It is the festive season and we want visitors and tourists to come to Margate and they are definitely going to be discouraged to come here because of the power situation. To top this off we are also being affected with no water because of the power outages, power is required to supply water to Margate.”
Ugu District Municipality spokesperson France Zama said electricity was supplied by Eskom and the matter was in their hands.
“Unfortunately, we just have to wait until they are able to restore the power on Tuesday. It’s a difficult situation. We do understand the plight of residents and the economic impact. Because of the power outage there will be a shortage of water supply during this time.
“The water that is supplied from Ugu District needs power to be supplied to Margate and surrounding areas.”