Power restoration explained

Mdu Nzimande, director of engineering operations at City Power, at the Roosevelt Park substation upgrade public meeting. Photo: Chantelle Fourie.

JOBURG – Task teams don’t always know how long it will take to fix a power-outage problem, but how long does connecting a wire really take?

According to City Power, it’s not that simple at all. Mdu Nzimande, director of engineering operations, said cables from substations run for kilometres underground. The fault, for this reason, is not easy to find. If the cables were overhead, it would be easy to locate the problem, he said.

“We do excavations, find the suitable material and replace the fault. This alone can take around two hours [since material is not carried on hand],” he said.

After this process, the team tests the current, hoping the fault is fixed. If nothing else fails, the suburb can be re-energied.

“Cable networks are not a quick fix,” he said.

Not only are the cables buried underground, but they are about 2m deep so as to make cable theft, a leading obstacle for the utility, more difficult.

The Roosevelt Park substation upgrade includes replacing old cabling that is sometimes difficult to locate with technological equipment from above ground. This will, however, take a few more years to complete.

In the mean time, City Power advises residents to follow the utility on Twitter at @CityPowerJhb for current updates on outrages and estimates on restoration times.

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Chantelle Fourie

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