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LEC sued over power outage

Nat Molomo

 

MASERU — A Roma businessman is suing the Lesotho Electricity Company (LEC) for M261 939 for damages incurred during a power outage in 2007.

Kali Thaanyane, the proprietor of Kay Cees restaurant opposite the National University of Lesotho in Roma, told the High Court that his business was without power from January 21 to 24 2007 after the LEC announced a power cut.

Thaanyane said the power cut, according to the LEC’s notice, was supposed to be between 8am and 4pm on January 21 but it extended up to three days.

Testifying before Justice Tseliso Monaphathi, Kay Cees manager Tankiso Letsooa said the business lost many perishable commodities.

These included beef, pork, mutton, cow heads, offals and chicken.

“I lost many commodities and I ended up going to the LEC contemplating what we should do,” Letsooa told the court.

The LEC, he said, asked him to record and provide information of the damaged commodities.

Lets’ooa said the damage was attributable to the power outage because the refrigerators could not function.

He said Kay Cees staff tried to ensure that the damaged commodities were saved, but this was to no avail.

Part of the business stock was taken to other places like Ha Mabote and Ha Ntja but the commodities still perished.

Having reported the matter to the LEC, Lets’ooa said he went to report to the public health department to come and inspect whether the commodities were still suitable for consumption.

“The public health department officials concluded that the items including meat must be destroyed or buried as they were no longer consumable,” he said, producing a document from the department of public health which showed that the commodities had been inspected.

He said the LEC never responded until Kay Cees took legal action despite the fact that the power supplier had asked him to fill a form and leave a list of items and the receipts showing their cost. 

Let’sooa told the court after complying with all LEC requirements, “we waited for a long time but they never replied until we consulted a lawyer”.

He said the LEC was responsible for the damages the business suffered because it never informed them that it was encountering problems.

“If the LEC had informed us that there would be no power from January 21 to 24, we could have looked for alternative measures to save our commodities,” Lets’ooa said.

“I expected that power would be back on January 21 at 4pm not on January 24 at 4pm.”

When the plaintiff’s lawyer, Nketsi Makhera, told him that the position of the LEC was that at the time the rainy weather conditions in Roma could not permit the company to repair its substations, he denied this as untrue.

“LEC did not give us notice that there might be a delay in repairing their supply equipment in Roma,” Lets’ooa said.

“It is not true that the conditions were as bad as they suggest.”

Shale Shale is appearing for the LEC.

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