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Billions required to address City Power’s infrastructure backlogs Print E-mail
08 November 2017
The City of Johannesburg requires an investment of approximately R17 Billion over the next 10 years to tackle the electricity infrastructure.

Addressing members of the media in the new council chamber on Tuesday, 7 November 2017, City of Johannesburg's Executive Mayor, Cllr Herman Mashaba said his administration was facing serious infrastructure backlog challenges.

This was further compounded by an ageing network infrastructure, theft and vandalism, backlog in asset renewal and bulk tariff trajectory. "We have one electricity sub-station that supplies the entire inner city of Johannesburg. It is 75 years old, 30 years past its useful lifespan.

"Earlier this year, I shared how City Power had been robbed blind by a company that had been paid massive sums of money even though there was no real work on the ground to build substations in Hopefield and Eldorado Park.

"To make matters worse, we are also fighting against criminals who steal crucial infrastructure from our entities. Just over a month ago, the inner city was plunged into darkness due to stolen underground cables," said Mayor Mashaba.

The Cleveland substation is about 80 years old and is currently being refurbished for approximately R180 million while the Van Beek substation is using old switchgear that is difficult to operate and unsafe to use as well as difficult to source spares.

"Some of our medium voltage underground cables are 45 years and the problematic areas include, the inner city, Roosevelt, Parkhurst, Roodepoort and parts of Rueven. The replacement parts are difficult to source as some of the circuit breakers were installed in 1929", said Mayor Mashaba.

Theft and vandalism of infrastructure is costing the city millions each year. About R76 million was spent on security measures in an attempt to curb cable theft and vandalism in the 2016/17 financial year. The low voltage overhead copper conductors are currently being converted to aerial bundle conductors with the aim of solving the problem of power outages caused by cable theft.

According to Mayor Mashaba, the other challenge is the bulk tariff trajectory because "the Eskom tariff trajectory is going up and this causes an adverse impact on industry and residential areas. The city does not have sufficient budget for the renewal of bulk infrastructure. We are trying hard to attract investors. A total of R481 million is required to electrify formal and informal settlements over the medium term."

Mayor Mashaba further said that the City acknowledges that these issues cannot be resolved overnight, however, it has intensified plans and interventions to address these issues such as:

• Evaluating alternative funding models to source funding for high risk substations;

• Assessing the legislative landscape on introduction of Independent Power Producers; and

• Intensifying maintenance efforts, monitoring all high-risk equipment and assessing quick power restoration options such as mobile substations.

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