Johannesburg City Power Struggles to Keep Up with Repairs Amid Material Shortages

Johannesburg City Power (JCP) is facing a shortage of materials due to high demands of repairs caused by load shedding in South Africa. This shortage is making it difficult for JCP to repair faulty cables and mini substations. According to Isaac Mangena, spokesperson for JCP, the company has received 1,549 outage calls by the start of April 5. He added that their teams were dispatched to assess outages, with other teams working on the ground to solve the problems. Roodepoort reportedly had 258 outage calls, while Peter Road substation has 15 mini substations that are off, and Helderkruin switching station has 17 load centers that are out.

City Power is unable to deal with the high backlog of outage calls in the past 24 hours, as it’s running out of stock material, such as MV cables, LV cables, mini substations (MSS), Bulk Metering Kiosk, breakers, and joints. The spokesperson explained that since the recent higher stages of load-shedding, City Power has had to replace more stock material faster than they could replenish it.

Load-shedding is causing further issues due to overloading and inrush current, as the infrastructure wasn’t designed to be switched on and off regularly at short intervals. This results in mini substations and transformers catching fire or simply failing, and with a low stock of materials, their replacement is difficult.

The continuous issues with cables due to aging also pose a threat. As most of the cables are old and have been cut and repaired by joining them with new cables, there is a high likelihood of faults during power outages. Whenever there is load-shedding and power returns, the surge in power will affect the weaker points on the cable, leading to cable faults.

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In response to the situation, City Power is engaging suppliers to receive more stock material to effect repairs. Mangena apologized to customers for the inconvenience caused by these power outages and promised to keep them updated through the City Power Twitter page and councillors’ WhatsApp groups.

The shortage of materials may have a significant impact on JCP’s ability to provide uninterrupted power supply to customers. The situation highlights the need for better planning and preparation for power outages to minimize disruptions to daily life and businesses.