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Wednesday, September 7, 2011

theStar:Bandar Puteri residents suffer damaged electrical appliances

GOH Kim Chuan woke up from sleep in the middle of the night by the noise from the ceiling fan in his room that was spinning at an unusual high speed.

“The fan was not this noisy usually. A loud bang ensued and I went to check on the fuse box of my alarm system, and found it burnt,” the 72-year-old resident of Puteri 11 in Bandar Puteri Puchong said.

Goh was among some 80 houseowners affected by the sudden surge in electricity at their homes at about 3.30am on Monday.

The incident left them with damaged electrical appliances, automatic gates and alarm systems. Fortunately, no fire happened and no one was injured.

TNB officers, who came within 20 minutes upon receiving calls from the residents, discovered that some parts in the substation were missing.

Residents’ association chairman Alice Choo said they were told that the parts were replaced by cables without a neutral line.

“How could the parts be stolen when the substation was locked up? The TNB officers claimed that it must be the job of outsiders who possessed their uniforms and keys.

“They said the theft did not occur recently but a couple of months back, adding that it was not the first case in Puchong. Shouldn’t they conduct routine checks instead of attending to it when there’s a problem?” she said.

Choo added that the security guards of their guarded neighbourhood usually let the uniformed officers in without asking them to surrender their identification cards.

“In view of the latest incident, we have now asked the guards to accompany them to the places they want to go and check on them every 10 to 15 minutes,” she said.

Another resident, Khor Ling Ling, 50, said it was like having fireworks and firecrackers in the house when the incident happened, with sparks emitting from the electrical items.

Her built-in kitchen hood, computers, phones, ceiling fans, modem, alarm system and a whole set of audio visual equipment are not able to function anymore.

“An electrician said there was still an oversupply of power when he came over to check. I have so far spent about RM500 to repair the alarm system and automatic gate, and expect to pay a lot more since my electricity cables are all buried in the walls,” she said.

Quek Chek Puay, 57, spent about RM2,000 to repair the burnt and blackened fuse box.

“A strong burnt plastic smell hit my nose as I opened the storeroom door. The fuse box was emitting smoke and was so hot,” he said.

Choo added that the TNB officers said the company would not compensate the residents for loss, but the residents want the company to be held responsible for the incident, which left them worrying about their safety.

“We are afraid that it will happen again,” Quek said.

The residents also pointed out that they were made waiting on the line when they called the TNB Puchong branch or TNB Careline. The calls were sometimes unanswered.

Puchong MP Gobind Singh, who met the residents yesterday morning, advised them to form a committee, list down the damages and file for compensation from TNB.

“I will speak to TNB and a get a report from them over the incident.

“I have been to a flat in Puchong Permai when the lift stopped working because of a similar problem. TNB should look into the issue seriously,” he said.

When contacted, a TNB spokesman said the excessive voltage happened because the busbars in the feeder pillar were stolen by thieves who had broken into the substation compound.

“Selangor TNB will contact the residents association for further discussion and action,” he said.

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