Cape spends to reduce power failure risk

The Cape Town City Council has earmarked almost R900 million to upgrade the metropole's electricity network in the coming financial year.

This forms part of the R5.5 billion capital budget proposed for 2009/10.

Cape Town's electricity infrastructure consists of more than 70 main sub-stations with transformers and switchgear, as well as thousands of kilometres of electrical cables criss-crossing the city from Atlantis and Gordon's Bay, down to Cape Point.

The electricity budget includes upgrades of main sub-stations such as Retreat (R60m), Rosmead Avenue (R52m), Strand (R42m), Roggebaai (R24m), Parow South (R21m) and at Langeberg in the northern suburbs (R18m).

According to Ian Neilson, mayoral committee member for Finance, Economic and Social Development and Tourism, the council cannot allow a second Eskom crisis to occur by waiting for equipment to fail before replacing it.

"We proactively implement a maintenance and replacement programme to facilitate economic development and create jobs," said Neilson.

Last year, the council spent R350m on the new Roggebaai sub-station, to augment power supply to the entire Central Business District and the Atlantic Seaboard for the next 15 years.

This year, capacity at the Retreat main sub-station will be increased by replacing the underground cables, two high-capacity power transformers and associated switchgear.

"These upgrades will reduce the risk of power failures," said Clive Justus, mayoral committee member for Utility Services.

"The council constantly monitors the state of all its electricity plants to determine their condition and the loads they can carry.

"An analysis of this data has shown that the equipment is ageing and reaching the end of its useful life.

"Work will start soon and should be completed by June 2010," Justus said.

sign up