FIREFIGHTERS put out a fire after it broke out at a transformer at the Scorpio Sub-station near SOUTH32 Hillside Smelter. | Screen grab from Facebook video.
FIREFIGHTERS put out a fire after it broke out at a transformer at the Scorpio Sub-station near SOUTH32 Hillside Smelter. | Screen grab from Facebook video.

WATCH: Transformer fire plunges most parts of Richards Bay into darkness

By Karen Singh Time of article published Sep 26, 2021

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THE uMhlathuze Municipality announced yesterday that a fire destroyed a transformer at Scorpio Substation near the Hillside Smelter leaving most parts of Richards Bay without power.

The municipality made the announcement on Facebook in the early hours of yesterday.

It said a team had switched off the Scorpio substation due to a fire that had broken out at one of the transformers. “Power is off in most parts of Richards Bay. The team has switched off Scorpio Substation due to fire...”

The municipality said fire and rescue teams extinguished the fire at Scorpio sub-station near SOUTH32 Hillside Smelter.

“One transformer burnt down including the entire control room. Electricians are also working on isolating the damaged material to try to restore power gradually. Some areas will be powered approximately in 4 to 5 hours,” it said in an update soon after the announcement.

Municipality spokesperson Mdu Ncalane said further investigations are being conducted to establish the cause of the fire.

“Most affected areas were powered back within less than four hours. Few industrial areas as at (yesterday 10am) were still affected,” he said.

A resident commented on the Facebook post that in the past two weeks there have been ongoing issues with the substations. He raised the question of whether the substations were being sabotaged.

“Two days after that we had power cuts because of some ’problems’ in the substations. Wednesday and Thursday we had another ’emergency’ power interruptions of which on Thursday you took 5.5 hours instead of 2 hours you asked for. Again two days after, another substation caught fire. Is there any kind of sabotage maybe?

Another resident said: “This is what happens when you don’t do proper maintenance on the infrastructure. Why do we even pay taxes when we’re forced to sit without power repeatedly in one week? And that's just this (last) week…”

THE MERCURY

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