On Sunday, May 7th, 2023, Ladysmith was hit by a power outage after a fire broke out at the primary switch house located on Newcastle Road. The fire resulted in a total blackout of all suburbs and towns distributed by the Alfred Duma (Ladysmith) Local Municipality.
Fortunately, the Fire Department worked tirelessly to extinguish the flames, and by 23:45 pm, the fire to the switch house was fully put out.
The Electrical Engineering Services from the municipality was able to restore electricity supply to a few areas, including Acaciavale, Aloe Park, Rose Park, Leonardsville, Marula, Steadville, Tsakane, Sumitomo, Lasher, and Transvaal Press Nuts and Bolts factory areas.
However, the majority of Ladysmith was still left without power.
The technicians are still working hard to resolve the issue and restore power to the affected areas, and the cause of the fire has not yet been identified. The Department of Electrical Engineering Services expected new medium voltage panels to arrive on Tuesday, May 9th. These would be installed at the municipal second switch house located on Newcastle Road. The municipality’s Communications Unit has promised to provide more updates on the progress by Friday, May 12th.
Meanwhile, Ladysmith Mayor Cllr Zama Sibisi and his council members conducted an inspection at the power station switch house to inspect the main reason behind the outburst. The mayor emphasised that the Municipality was giving priority to water treatment plants and urged residents to remain calm while the Municipality works to restore both power and water services.
The water shortages are linked to the damaged power station, as noted by the uThukela District Municipality.
The District Municipality explained that there were issues at the Ladysmith bulk purification plant, which was unable to pump or process water due to the power outages caused by the damaged power station. As a result, the District Municipality has temporarily closed its offices in the main building as a precautionary measure due to power outage, which has a direct impact on health and safety due to water shortages in the building.
The Municipal Manager, Mr. M.B. Mnguni, has since issued a directive to all employees working in the main building to suspend all activities with immediate effect. The Communications Unit of the District Municipality pointed out that this is in compliance with the occupational health and safety standard practice.
The situation has caused inconvenience to both customers and employees alike. Customers who will be coming to pay for their water bills are advised not to come until Friday, May 12th, when the offices are scheduled to reopen.
The District Municipality’s Communications Unit apologised for any inconvenience caused and hopes that the situation will be normalised by then.
As Ladysmith grapples with these electrical issues, the Municipality is working hard to restore power and water services.
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