In the midst of a heightened load shedding crisis, Johannesburg finds itself grappling with a significant increase in power failures. City Power, the city’s utility provider, has struggled to manage the sudden surge in outages across multiple districts, notably including Randburg, Alexandra, and Hursthill.
Riding the Dark Wave: The Troubles of Randburg
Randburg’s residents have been caught in a seemingly endless loop of power outages, with electricity being snuffed out after each load shedding cycle. The community has voiced concerns, expressing frustration over the unbearable number of blackout hours surpassing the limited periods of electrical availability they’ve experienced over the week. City Power cited pilfered cables and oil supplies as contributors to these regular electrical disturbances, despite ongoing repair efforts.
Attempts to reach City Power spokesperson Isaac Mangena were unsuccessful as he remained unresponsive to repeated phone calls.
Eskom’s Role: Load Shedding Intensifies
Further compounding the power woes, Eskom has escalated its load shedding program from stage 4 at the beginning of the week to the current stage 6.
City Power, in a Twitter statement, shared that a detected cable fault on Monday led to power disruptions for Alexandra’s residents, traced back to the substation supplying the area.
“Investigations revealed that it was caused by a faulty Pole Mounted Transformer,” the city utility explained.
The faulty transformer is now slated for replacement after the conclusion of ongoing repairs.
Snapped Cables and Faulty Substations: A Tangle of Troubles
In another part of Alexandra, a broken overhead line disrupted power along 13th – 16th Avenue. Repair work, coupled with the resolution of similar issues at the Vezinyawo Transit Camp, is not anticipated to start until Friday.
Randburg, particularly in areas like Boskruin, Bromhof, Sonneglans, and Ferndale, has witnessed frequent outages post-4.30pm load shedding, with power being reinstated just an hour before another round of blackouts slated for 8 pm to midnight.
The continuous tripping of power since Monday has been attributed to cable faults at the Houtkoppen and Northriding 11kv substations, causing disruptions in Kyasand, Hoogland, Northriding, and Boundary Road.
Meanwhile, Bryanston East was facing low voltage issues due to circuit problems at the 6.6k Substation.
City Power has clarified that identifying and fixing faults during load shedding schedules is not feasible, limiting their ability to conduct necessary repairs.
Essential Services and Businesses: An Exemption
In the wake of these power disturbances, City Power announced the exemption of key customers, critical services, and select businesses from scheduled power cuts.
Joburg’s Infrastructure MMC Councillor Jack Sekwaila stated that efforts have been underway since June to create a more favourable business environment, offering exemptions to some industries.
Hospitals like the Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital, Rahima Moosa Mother and Child Hospital, and Charlotte Maxeke Hospital will be spared from the outages.
“We recognise the essential role played by these institutions in our community. In addition to health facilities, we have expanded the list to include other essential services such as water infrastructure, data centres, and even certain businesses,” Mangena reported to the City’s Joburg.gov portal.