Wapadrand substation has been a problem for people of Pretoria east for years, constantly leaving large areas without power. Picture: Thobile Mathonsi/African News Agency (ANA)
Wapadrand substation has been a problem for people of Pretoria east for years, constantly leaving large areas without power. Picture: Thobile Mathonsi/African News Agency (ANA)

Overloaded electricity substation in Wapadrand to be rebuilt

By James Mahlokwane Time of article published May 24, 2021

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Pretoria - Residents in the east of Pretoria pay significant rates and taxes and do not deserve to deal with constant power failures caused by the incapacitated Wapadrand substation.

They complained about this to Executive Mayor Randall Williams and DA leaders John Steenhuisen and Solly Msimanga when the DA visited the troubled substation to tell them there were plans to rebuild the station.

Residents said they had been dealing with power outages for far too long because the substation was not big enough to service all the residential and business properties in the area.

This, they said, had led to power failures with prolonged and unsatisfying restoration times.

Equestria resident Louis Minnaar said that when the substation burnt to the ground in 2018 a lot of the equipment was replaced, but residents were still dealing with outages because of faults that keep recurring from that.

“...there is no maintenance being done by the City of Tshwane. I think it is rather crisis management that is being done here. To this day we still have outages and people are losing their valuables like fridges, TVs, stoves and other electronic appliances.

“Honestly, I think they have failed the people of the City because I have lived in a North West province town, with a bankrupt municipality, but restoration times were usually between one and two hours. Here that kind of urgent service is not being delivered.

“For instance, on Tuesday we had a restoration time of 22 hours for Equestria – for a minor fault. This was not another substation burning down but we sat for 22 hours just to have restoration.

“I cannot speak for other residents who pay or don’t pay rates and taxes, but for us who live here and pay I think it is not fair to double pay in this country. I mean you pay for the service and the connection and everything, but you still have to pay for back-up solutions.”

Another resident, Michael Smith, said the big problem was that people were working from home because of the pandemic and they needed power to do their work, but they had to make back-up plans.

Residents said they were happy the leaders did not try to sugarcoat the situation and told the people it would be a long road until 2024 when the substation is fully rebuilt and capacitated to cope with the area it supplies, which has grown significantly from when the station was initially built.

City Chief of Staff Jordan Griffiths said it took a while but the City finally received a R77 million insurance payout for the 2018 fire and it was working on a tender to have the substation rebuilt and capacitated to deal with the load.

Williams said: “The plan is on track to rebuild this station totally.

“When it was built it was not taken into consideration the kind of growth that would take place here in Pretoria east.

“This has been an extremely high growth area.

“The amounts of development here far exceeded the amount the City could provide as far as electricity is concerned. The project is fully funded and it will start soon... by December the tender will be granted and in 2022 they will start the rebuilding.”

Pretoria News

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