Load rotation set to kick in as City Power races to restore power

Although City Power has been able to restore power to Braamfontein, the power utility says that because of the extent of the damage to the underground cables, it will “take long” to restore power to other affected areas.

City Power spokesperson Isaac Mangena said the power utility has managed to restore power in Braamfontein and municipal buildings in the area through back-feeding efforts.

City Power’s technicians are hard at work trying to install new cables on the M1 highway bridge so that power can be restored fully, he said.

According to Mangena, the power utility will continue to use interconnectors throughout Wednesday to restore power supply to affected areas. 

Last Wednesday, an underground fire broke out on the M1 north highway near Smit Street and the double-decker section between Braamfontein substation and Fordsburg substation.

The fire has since been attributed to cable theft and the vandalism of infrastructure. It led to power outages in Parktown, Newtown, Braamfontein, the Johannesburg CBD and surrounding areas.

Efforts to restore power supply

“After the extensive work that was done overnight, the team is continuing this morning with efforts to fast-track the restoration of supply to customers who were affected by the M1 fire incident,” said Mangena.

“The team managed to connect four joints last night, and today they will be working on the remaining six. This, after the successful complex work of rerouting some of the underground network.

“The testing process will commence after the outstanding joints have been connected.

“If the outcomes of the tests are all positive, the team will start with the process of restoring supply in a gradual and staggered manner to avoid triggering a trip.

“This is part of the continuous efforts that are unfolding parallel to the work of replacing the burned and stolen cables.

“The work of installing new cables on the M1 bridge will admittedly take a long time, given the extent of the damage and the technical complexities required.”

Mangena explained further: “That’s why the entity continues working hard to explore some of the underground network in an effort to see if there are other options outside of those that have already been exhausted and to provide some much-needed relief to affected customers.

“A separate team from the one working on replacing destroyed cables on the highway has been working on interconnector cables between Braamfontein, Fort, and Ridge substations to try to expedite the restoration of power supply.

“That team has made some significant strides. Since that unfortunate incident led to a widespread outage, the team has so far managed to bring back Braamfontein, Braampark, Liberty Life, Thuso House, Metro Centre, and other buildings through back-feeding efforts.”

Implementation of load rotation

Mangena said City Power’s plan to use interconnectors to restore supply would continue throughout the day on Wednesday.

“That plan will be attached to the implementation of load rotation to ensure that as many customers as possible can share in access to power supply after a prolonged period in the dark,” he said.

“A notice to inform customers of the load rotation plan will be issued in due course, and the estimated time of restoration will be communicated in the following updates.

“Customers are encouraged to unplug their appliances during this period of the outage to avoid a trip when supply is restored.”

Meanwhile, Johannesburg city manager Floyd Brink will lead a media briefing at 2pm on the progress made thus far.

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