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​10-05-2013: Media Statement to Rapport on West Rand Power Outage

Media Statement to Rapport on West Rand Power Outage

1) What caused the power outage?
Our 33 000 volt oil pressured cable and auxiliary equipment between Florida North and Florida Glen substations were damaged in a theft and vandalism incident. This resulted in a fault on two of our 33kV cables.

2) We have experts saying the power infrastructure is old and not properly maintained and that is why we had outages. Is this true?
The electrical infrastructure may be old, but the outage did not occur through lack of maintenance. City Power inspects oil pressure gauges and pressure tanks on a weekly basis to ensure that system pressure remains at an acceptable level.

3) Experts also say there were not sufficient safety mechanisms in place. If one or two cables were stolen, there was no safety mechanism in place. Is this true?
This question is unclear. The station shut down as soon as the fault was detected, as the protection mechanism is designed to do. Because two cables were affected, the substation could not be energised. This resulted in a prolonged outage.

4) What systems are in place? Why were they not working?
This question is not clear. Our sub stations are equipped with protection relays. As soon as an abnormality is detected, the relays send a signal to the breakers to trip the power and that is exactly what happened.

5) How often do you maintain and upgrade the systems? Especially linking substations and strengthening a reliable network?
Our substations are inspected weekly. Maintenance is scheduled annually.

6) How do you prevent cable theft, or more importantly, prevent that if one or two are stolen that we do not sit without power for days?
Our cables are laid underground so they are not readily accessible. Florida Glen is supplied by two cables, one being a back-up cable in the event of one failing for whatever reason. Both these cables faulted as result of the incident. This delayed power restoration.

7) Experts say there is currently enough power, but the infrastructure is not properly maintained?
We are conducting time-based maintenance on our electrical infrastructure, in tandem with condition monitoring of our equipment.

8) Will we get load-shedding? What can people expect in this regards?
Load shedding will only happen if required by Eskom. However, because we are an Eskom customer, our customers may be affected if load shedding is required. We continue to work with Eskom to manage national electricity supply constraints.

No load shedding is currently taking place within the City of Johannesburg. Should this situation change, City Power will communicate whether load shedding will be required.

We urge customers to save electricity, even during winter, particularly in peak times (5-9pm).

For more information please contact Sol Masolo at 078 192 8811 or 011 490 7600