Johannesburg power utility City Power said officials are now working on restoring electricity to several parts in the south of Johannesburg after the substation at Robertsham went up in flames, plunging surrounding areas into darkness. File Picture : Antoine de Ras
Johannesburg power utility City Power said officials are now working on restoring electricity to several parts in the south of Johannesburg after the substation at Robertsham went up in flames, plunging surrounding areas into darkness. File Picture : Antoine de Ras

Substation fire plunges residents in south of Joburg into darkness

By Jonisayi Maromo Time of article published Oct 19, 2021

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Pretoria – Several parts of Johannesburg were on Tuesday morning still without electricity after the Robertsham substation caught alight, plunging areas surrounding it into darkness last night.

“This morning, several areas do not have electricity following the fire yesterday evening. Currently, we don’t know what caused the fire, and yesterday, our investigators were waiting for the emergency services to put out the fire. From what we could see, at least two main transformers were gutted by this fire,” City Power spokesperson Isaac Mangena told broadcaster eNCA.

“We will be doing the mop-up operation before we can assess how much damage has been caused.”

Mangena said, from the look of things, it did not look promising that power would be restored to the affected areas on Tuesday morning.

“We will update the residents later. By the look of things, it might take a day or even two,” he said.

On Monday, in a statement, Mangena said the power interruption was affecting some parts of Johannesburg South.

“The outage occurred around 8.30pm after Robertsham substation caught fire, plunging the area into darkness. The cause of the fire is currently not known, and teams are on-site to start with investigations,” said Mangena.

Areas affected include:

Aeroton

Evans Park

The Hill

Ormonde

Robertsham and surrounds.

City Power apologised to customers “for the inconvenience this has caused”.

A media invitation, issued on Tuesday, suggested that Executive Mayor of the City of Johannesburg Mpho Moerane would be visiting the Robertsham substation.

“The mayor will assess the damage caused by the fire, and oversee City Power's recovery plans to ensure electricity is restored to most of the residents in the south as quickly as its humanly possible,” according to City Power.

In August, two men were caught red-handed and later arrested for allegedly vandalising a substation, which plunged some parts of Roodepoort into darkness.

Apparently, power was out for about 12 hours due to the vandalism caused by the duo.

At the time, Mangena said, after the power went out, security officers went to the area to find out what the problem was, and that’s when they came across the two men.

He said it was found that they had cut the locks of the Florida substation to gain entry into the chamber.

Mangena said that the men had cut and stolen cables, which led to the power outage.

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