Representatives of the Hilton Ratepayers Association being Mike Tarr and Rob Maitland-Stuart met with key Msunduzi Municipal staff from the Electricity Dept., on Monday 31st August 2020 regarding Hilton’s electricity supply issues. It was noted that since the previous meetings held on the 1st April 2019, 10th February 2020 and more recently, 9th July 2020 which the Municipal Manager attended, no constructive action has been forthcoming. This is of serious concern to the HRA who are vigorously pursuing the matter looking for resolution.
Key outcomes from the recent meeting held included the following commitments.
1. The Msunduzi Electricity Dept., to advise the HRA, who the incumbent is that will occupy the position of Manager (Ops & Maintenance) by mid-September 2020 who will possess the necessary Government Certificate of Competency required by law.
2. Regarding the major Hilton Supply Upgrade proposal as outlined in the municipal Network Development Plan (NDP), The Msunduzi Municipality have included the total expenditure required in a comprehensive fund application submitted to National Treasury recently. The HRA will engage the Municipal Manager periodically to determine progress with this fund application.
3. It was noted that the relevant funds to upgrade all three cable sections in the 2 x Retief/Crossways 33kV networks have been included in the local municipal budget for implementation in the current financial year, which closes in June 2021. This would also include repairs to existing streetlights and any applicable 11kV reticulation upgrade priority identified. Completion of the 33kV related work, will dramatically improve the reliability of the 33kV supply to Hilton’s Crossways Primary substation, which is a major step forward in stabilizing the primary supply to Hilton in the short/medium terms. The HRA will monitor progress/status accordingly.
4. The frequent supply interruptions on the Berry Hill/DS Drive/Zayeka 11kV feeder, would appear to be due to high loading and the failure of the existing undersized 11kV cable between Crossways substation and the Berry Hill mini substation. Plans are in place by Msunduzi Municipality to upgrade this cable section as soon as funds become available. The HRA will monitor progress/status in this regard.
5. Vegetation Encroachment is a continuing “problem child” particularly with regards to the Winterskloof 11kV feeder (Celtis, Cuckoo, Budleigh, Azalea, Devonshire, Sutton, etc.) which is susceptible to frequent supply interruptions due to vegetation encroachment. A mutual co-operation arrangement was proposed, whereby the Electricity Dept. initiate a line inspection to identify the problem areas and remove the vegetation where this was encountered on municipal property (road reserves) and inform the HRA of those areas (street addresses) where encroachment is due to vegetation from private properties. The HRA will assist the Electricity Dept., by informing specific residents of the problem and co-ordinate an effort to have the affected line switched out on a pre-arranged date, affording the residents the opportunity to clear the relevant vegetation. Nevertheless, a formal municipal process is apparently available for use by residents for the removal of encroaching vegetation from private properties. The HRA will distribute the official form to all residents once this has been received from the Msunduzi Municipality. Importantly and for strict safety reasons, the HRA advocates that no one should attempt the removal of encroaching vegetation from “live” municipal infrastructure without first obtaining the instruction to proceed via the Msunduzi Electricity Dept/HRA mutual co-operation arrangement.
6. The inefficiency of the Call-in Centre (CIC) was addressed and Msunduzi Municipality advised that in the event that no response/satisfaction is received from callers to the main CIC, the Electricity Dept. have a satellite Call-in Centre that can be used and the contact number there is 033 348 2179, which residents are welcome to use for any supply related interruptions, should calls to the main CIC prove unsuccessful.
7. The statutory nominal supply voltage the Msunduzi Municipality provides its LV consumers is in accordance with NERSA directives and aligned to the NRS 048 national standard, which is 230V ±10%. Should any resident have reason to believe that their supply is being provided outside these parameters, please notify both the HRA and the Msunduzi Electricity Dept., accordingly.