Joburg apologises for weekend power cuts amid biting cold
PRETORIA – Johannesburg's mayoral committee member for environment and infrastructure, Mpho Moerane, on Monday extended an apology to residents for being plunged into darkness during the cold front due to unplanned power outages.
“City Power (the Johannesburg power utility) battled several challenges in different parts of the city as the temperatures dipped low and the demand for electricity increased. Several areas experienced unplanned outages due to the overloading of the network caused by the high demand for electricity,” Moerane said.
The situation was worsened by illegal connections mushrooming in most areas across the city.
“As a result, due to overstretched resources, some areas were only restored after more than 36 hours. The areas hardest hit include Rabie Ridge, where mini-substations faulted due to overloading. In Klipfontein, two mini-substations burnt down due to illegal connections,” said Moerane.
Various areas in the city also experienced intermittent power outages. In Eldorado Park, there were multiple cable faults on Saturday, which plunged the area into darkness for most part of the weekend, and a mini-substation blew up due to illegal connections in Coronationville.
Other outages due to overloading included areas such as Tshepisong, Thembelihle, Vlakfontein, CBD, and Lenasia. On Sunday, there was “a big power outage” affecting close to 10 substations feeding most of the southern parts of the city.
This was after an 88kv circuit breaker blew up at Orlando substation. Some areas, especially around Lenasia and Ennerdale, could not be restored on time as they tripped due to inrush current. "City Power teams, which were stretched by the increase in outages, worked around the clock to ensure that the challenges were addressed and power is restored,” said Moerane.
“While over 2,000 calls were logged every day throughout the weekend, there were fewer calls by Monday morning, as most of the issues were addressed. Customers are urged to assist us by using electricity sparingly by switching off non-essentials during peak hours.”
He said resources had been increased in areas that were prone to unplanned outages to ensure a quicker response time.
“As part of the winter plan, generation at Kelvin substation has been increased from 90 to 250 megawatts to meet the winter demand. The city has engaged the services of Kelvin power station (a private power supplier) in order to be able to handle the increasing demand for power,” said Moerane.
He emphasised that illegal connections remained a major headache for the vast city.
“The removal of illegal connections will be intensified across the city in the coming days. Illegal connections inconvenience other customers, interrupt businesses, and cost the city millions of rand in lost revenue. Budgets have also been made available to deal with ageing infrastructure, build more substations and do regular maintenance,” said Moerane.
“We appeal for calm from our residents as we address some of the challenges that were caused by the affected power supply this past weekend.”African News Agency