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Tshwane’s troublesome Wapadrand substation leaves residents in dark again

The Wapadrand substation is out of action again. Picture: Jacques Naude/African News Agency (ANA)

The Wapadrand substation is out of action again. Picture: Jacques Naude/African News Agency (ANA)

Published Dec 10, 2021


Pretoria - Hardly four months after a large part of Pretoria was plunged into darkness due to trouble at the Wapadrand substation, the problem has recurred again.

The City of Tshwane said technical issues arose on Sunday. The substation experienced trips and failed to recharge, despite technicians working around the clock.

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“Teams have been attending to these persisting trips, which includes investigations into the cause of this service interruption,” the City said yesterday.

“Findings have revealed a fault on the mono-block of transformer B, which was repaired and its supply area was switched back on. However, yesterday (Wednesday) evening, it was discovered that one of the components on the transformer was unstable and had to be reset.”

They tried energising the substation, but the transformer tripped again, which then indicated another possible fault.

Yesterday morning, the City said it energised it again, but a flash occurred on part of the equipment. “We then resorted to sourcing the services of a dry ice blasting company to remove carbon on the affected components (busbars) as it is more effective than cleaning with bare hands.“

Residents were not happy, saying they had been forced, during the winter, to throw large amounts of perishable food away when the substation malfunctioned and left them with no electricity for a week.

@Glo wrote on Twitter: “Now why are we going through another outage if everything was repaired and put in place so as to avoid future occurrences? We have little kids and can’t continue to be in the dark.”

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@Roberta Henney said: “Please don’t tell me about vaccination. Just fix Wapadrand substation so I can enjoy my December with electricity,” while @Patty complained that the substation was unstable and had problems every year.

A frustrated Chris Vermeulen said that with the midnight prediction of a return of power they would have gone 70 hours without electricity. “I truly hope that we can rely on the latest news for reconnecting our electricity supply.”

@RShoeman rubbished a message he received by text, that the dry ice method did not work and Tshwane was doing more pressure tests and removing damaged components to replace them.

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Areas left without electricity included a portion of Equestria, Olympus, Koedoeberg, Faerie Glen, Lynnwood Park and MV Rural Lines (which includes Shere, Tierpoort, and a portion of Mooiplaats/Donkerhoek).

Others from Pretoria East said they had gone to the site to find no activity whatsoever.

@GreenyZA said: “Weird how Wapadrand is a priority, but was completely deserted this morning. Also, we will see about the ’no more load shedding at Wapadrand’. Just sounds like more empty promises.”

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The City said it was trying its utmost to get the substation up and running by midnight yesterday.

“All the necessary tests will be performed after dry ice blasting is completed and power will subsequently be restored once all tests are positive/clean.”

Others felt too much attention had been diverted to the Mooikloof substation, which was burnt during heavy rains on Wednesday last week, and which has generated no electricity since.

SA Citizen said: “Are there similar issues at Mooikloof? I know it’s been down for days, but at least they got 26 shiny new panels which I find interesting since Wapadrand had to be patched with second-hand stuff sourced from other stations in July.”

@DeluxLife asked how Wapadrand had become a priority over Mooikloof.

The City, meanwhile, said: “Cleaning of busbar components was completed. Busy reconnecting them. It is envisaged that all components will be reconnected this afternoon, and further tests will be carried out to determine their suitability to be re-energised.”

Pretoria News