Transformers act up over weekend

HIGHVELD – Residents in Secunda and Evander were without electricity over the Easter weekend.

Also read the latest update: [POWER UPDATE] Power outages in Secunda

In Secunda, problems with the electricity began early on 29 March when copper cables and earthing cables at main substations were stolen.

According to Ms Mariaan Chamberlain, DA councillor, she received phone calls from people saying they saw people digging holes in PDP Kruger Street on 28 March.

“We suspect they stole cables,” said Ms Chamberlain.

While the electrical team was working on fixing the problem at the electricity line at Kruik Church, the transformer near McDonald’s burned.

The team then picked up problems at the transformer in the CBD and at an electricity box near the police station.

They realised they would not be able to fix the problems and called in the help of a contractor from Ermelo.

He had specialised tools and they were able to pick up faults on the electricity cables near Secunda Mall and near the Sasol filling station opposite the mall.

They tried to fix the problems over the long weekend.

Ms Chamberlain said the team had to work under difficult circumstances while it also rained.

They had to work close to fuel tanks and to work a certain distance away from the tanks to ensure their safety.

The teams were able to remove the old cables and replace them with new ones by 3.10pm.

Another transformer burned in Langenhoven Street on the Saturday evening and the CBD and some parts of Secunda were without electricity.

A switch then burned near Langenhoven Street on 1 April.

The teams could not work on Sunday because of rain, but continued on Monday and fixed a second fault on the electricity lines between the CBD and Kiewiet Street.

They worked until after dark on 2 April and by 3 April, electricity in most parts of Secunda was restored except for the Kruik Church area.

The team was attending to this area on Tuesday.

However, Proconics, Kruik Church and the Fundu Park office block, as well as the businesses opposite Kruik Church still did not have electricity by 6 April and Sasol pitched in and used a specialised tool to fix the fault.

Some business owners were talking of taking legal steps against the municipality for loss of income.

The newspaper asked Mr Bheki Khubeka, senior manager of the office of the municipal manager, what challenges the municipality had to face regarding the cable theft and other issues with the electricity during the past two weeks. He said: “The long and short of the story is that there was an attempted cable theft in PDP Kruger adjacent to Proconics and as a result of cable damage during the attempted theft, the cable burned at the mini substation adjacent to McDonald’s and parts of the cable around Sasol Garage which then affected the CBD and the Proconics area.”

However on Saturday morning, residents’ electricity woes continued as the electricity in the Secunda Mall area and Langenhoven Street was off again.

Ms Chamberlain informed residents via WhatsApp messages that the municipality was aware of the problem and residents should not try to contact the call centre as they were not able to give reference numbers.

Municipal workers were working on the cables near Kruik Church on Saturday morning as the connection got wet and ground water was seeping to the surface.

The CBD was also without electricity on Saturday morning, because water got inside a joint at the substation near Proconics and it exploded.

Municipal workers also tended to this problem on Saturday morning.

Some residents were still without electricity by 6pm on Saturday as municipal workers were still working on the transformers.

Ms Chamberain informed residents of another power outage on Sunday morning due to a cable fault near Albany Bakery and the light industrial area.

Evander, Kinross and eMbalenhle also had electricity problems on Friday afternoon and Saturday.

According to Ms Estelle Swart, DA councillor, electricity in Kinross and Evander went off because of two transformers and switch gears that burned on Friday night.

Eskom’s electricians were on the scene on 31 March at 2am to tend to the problems.

Residents had electricity again later on Saturday.

  AUTHOR
Jana Oosthuizen

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