Pretoria - Good news is on the horizon for the thousands of households in Pretoria east, whose electricity supply is dependent on the troublesome Wapadrand electricity sub-station.
The City of Tshwane has said work to rebuild the sub-station is due to start on November 15.
Residents in this area are fed up of being plunged into darkness too often. But Tshwane announced that acting city manager Mmaseabata Mutlaneng has signed off on the Wapadrand sub-station project.
The City has vowed that the rebuilding of the sub-station will be concluded within three years.
MMC for Energy and Electricity, Water and Sanitation, and Regional Operation and Co-ordination in Tshwane Phillip Nel said the project was aimed at rebuilding this sub-station, which yet again caught fire on July 17 this year.
“The sub-station required full scale refurbishment and upgrades, as it must support the growing number of developments in the east of the city,” Nel said.
The recent fire at the sub-station caused significant damage and badly affected the power supply to surrounding areas.
“We also identified that it is critical that this sub-station is protected, as Eskom’s persistent load shedding can severely harm our infrastructure.”
Nel added that the refurbishment and upgrade project had been fully funded, and would commence on November 15.
“The contract will run for three years, and the rebuilding of the sub-station will be completed within the timeline,” Nel assured.
Residents said they had been dealing with power outages for far too long because the sub-station 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.
Whenever there is Eskom load shedding, residents remain fearful that they will remain in the dark even after the power is switched on again, as the power often then trips in this area.
Residents and businesses who are dependent on this sub-station are no strangers to being plunged in darkness for several days.
Parts of Pretoria East were in darkness during the winter of 2018, after the Wapaderand power station went up in flames and residents have received more than their fair share of power outages over the years.
Regarding the delays in rebuilding the sub-station since it first caught fire in 2018, Nel earlier said the insurance company had taken a long time to pay out the municipality.
As a result, Nel said, plans to rebuild the sub-station were not added to the City’s work programme, and as a regulation stated that new projects could not be added during the course of the financial year, there was not much that could be done. But despite these delays, the refurbishment project is now up and running.
Nel said the project was one of many projects to drive development in the city, but added that large-scale infrastructure projects often took a long time to complete. They pushed this project forward to ensure the electricity challenges supplied by this sub-station were a thing of the past.