Constant power outages put City Power staff’s lives at risk

Constant power outages have resulted in City Power’s staff and contractors being exposed to more risks.

For the 2022/2023 financial year, City Power reports that seven contractors and 16 city power employees were injured on the job.

In January the power utility had two incidents, one in Rooderpoort that left one person dead and another one in the city centre that left one person badly injured.

The two sustained electrical injuries. One suffered flesh burns while the other succumbed to his injuries.

The injured contractor was taken to Helen Joseph hospital.

City Power spokesperson Isaac Mangena said being a contractor forms part of the inherent risk, which the utility prepares them for through strict and highly regulated processes.

“The records show that on a quarterly basis, we have a network or electrical incident, mostly affecting contractors. City Power has a strict SHERQ [Safety Health Environment Risk & Quality] and technical policies and procedures about working on our infrastructure. All relevant stakeholders are subjected to a comprehensive safety induction and assessment by competent personnel,” he said.

Mangena shared that the consistent power outages put the lives of contractors at risk on a daily basis, he said: “Due to loadshedding, we are forced to bring more warm bodies to work and have some work throughout the night, switching power supply on and off every two hours.

“This means our workers have to travel at odd dark hours to obscure areas to operate the substation, and they often come under fire.

He also added that there is an increase in cable theft during loadshedding, he said: “When cable theft is reported, our workers need to respond, which compromises their safety. Just last month during loadshedding, there was a shoot-out in relation to cable theft around the double decker highway in Newtown.”

Mangena put emphasis on the safety of the workers, saying: “It is rapidly becoming dangerous for our technicians.

“In the past, our workers would pray before leaving every morning with the hope of making it home safely without any electrical work accidents.

“Lately, their prayer has changed to asking that they should survive the attacks from residents, who they are meant to provide services to, and that is the sad reality that City Power finds itself in.”

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