Power partly restored at Kwagga substation

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City of Tshwane says power will be fully restored by late Tuesday afternoon after a transformer at its biggest substation caught fire in the early hours of the morning.

The Kwagga substation in Pretoria West supplies 60% of the city with power. Atteridgeville, Laudium, Soshanguve and the Greater Northern area are some of the affected places.

The transformer which caught fire at the substation was a result of load shedding. Acting Mayor, Abel Tau says the constant rotational load shedding currently being experienced triggered the fire.

Tau says the current infrastructure is not designed for constant on and off switching.

“The unfortunate part about this is that this infrastructure was not built to be switched off as it currently is and unfortunately we find ourselves in this situation that we find ourselves with load shedding. As you can see behind me, the two transformers burnt down completely, but we have been fortunate that the teams have been here , we have managed to isolate and we have managed to bring back about 90 percent now.”

By midday, power had been restored to at least 90% of the affected areas.

Tau says going forward the city will have to come up with alternative plans to ensure no repetition of such an incident. He says the damage is estimated at over R150 million and will take up to 18-months to repair.

“The rough estimates, preliminary we are looking at anything between R150-million to R200-million which is why the leader of government business is here to ensure that he is appraised on the spot on what might need to be done and how deep into the city coffers we might have to go to make sure that we restore and repair this. The lead time on these transformers is anything up to 18 months. So we need to move swiftly with ensuring that we can restore this power station to full functionality so that we don’t find ourselves in a similar situation.”

The city has meanwhile suspended load shedding for the day as the load had already been alleviated by the outage.