File picture: Antoine de Ras/Independent Media.
File picture: Antoine de Ras/Independent Media.

City Power apologises for Joburg Christmas Day blackout

By Jonisayi Maromo Time of article published Dec 26, 2019

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PRETORIA  - City Power on Thursday said it has completed the connection and commissioning of a new transformer at its Cleveland substation, in Johannesburg, and promised to fully restore electricity by "early afternoon".

City Power spokesperson Isaac Mangena said the power utility has had teams stationed at the substation since the fire broke out on Tuesday night, plunging several suburbs including Benrose, Denver, Malvern, Jeppestown, Kensington, Heriotdale into darkness. 

"A new standby transformer was commissioned and tested positively on Christmas Day with the hope of energising it and restoring power before [the] end of Christmas Day. However, for oil to soak in and have the transformer carry the load took longer than expected. We anticipate that the new transformer will be ready by early afternoon today [Thursday], after which power will gradually be restored to the residents," said Mangena.

He said at any given time, the Cleveland substation runs at full capacity with two transformers. 

"When one caught fire on Tuesday, the substation lost half supply load, leaving one transformer to service 50 percent of the customers. So the substation was not completely 100 percent lost after the incident. The area is mostly an industrial area, meaning with factories closed for Christmas, the impact on lives was minimal," said Mangena.

City Power CEO Lerato Setshedi apologized for the inconvenience caused to residents during the blackout - particularly on Christmas Day.

"We are happy with the progress made by the team who spent sleepless nights at the substation since Tuesday. We are glad that we will still be able to restore power earlier than we thought," said Setshedi. 

"We apologise that some residents were forced to have Christmas in darkness due to this unfortunate incident. It could have been worse had the city's fire and emergency team not responded as fast as they did and ensured the fire is contained and does not damage other infrastructure at the substation. We are grateful for that."

Investigations into the cause of the fire are still continuing. The damaged transformer has been isolated and removed.

- African News Agency (ANA)

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