South Africa 29.8.2018 06:20 am

New transformer at Eikenhof set up in record time

Technicians work on a new transformer at the Eikenhof substation at the Rand Water pumping station, 28 August 2018, after the facility caught fire yesterday. Picture: Michel Bega

Technicians work on a new transformer at the Eikenhof substation at the Rand Water pumping station, 28 August 2018, after the facility caught fire yesterday. Picture: Michel Bega

Contractor Johan Grobler praised ‘the people who have been working here since [Monday] night non-stop. A very dedicated group of people’.

A group of unsung heroes toiled through the night, doing what would normally take 72 hours in just 30 hours, to restore water and power to a large part of Johannesburg.

Workers from City Power and its contractors have been on site at Rand Water’s Eikenhof pumping station since yesterday.

Some have worked more than 24 hours without sleep.

The new transformer has been assembled and tested and City Power spokesperson Isaac Mangena said yesterday it was expected that power would be restored overnight.

And it was hoped water supply would be restored today.

Contractor Johan Grobler who, like several others, had been at the site for more than 24 hours, said he was on his way home from work when he received an emergency call.

He said that having the right contacts to call and dedicated people in the team were the reasons the transformer, which was wrecked in an initial explosion, was speedily replaced.

He added: “The people who have been working here since [Monday] night non-stop. None of them thought of the fact that they were working overtime, they just worked. Some of them nearly passed out … a very dedicated group of people!”

The transformer that caught fire on Monday severely affected the supply of water in parts of Johannesburg, the West Rand and Rustenburg in North West.

Three other transformers in the station were damaged due to the severity of the fire.

This meant parts of Johannesburg were without electricity. As many as four million people in Johannesburg alone could have been affected.

Another contractor, Mark Samons, said he was among the first to get videos of the fire and the call to render his services on the site. He was impressed how quickly City Power responded to the incident in comparison with other municipalities.

Grobler said assembling the new transformer was extremely complicated and the repair teams did not have schematic diagrams because of the age of some of the machinery on which they were working.

jenniffero@citizen.co.za

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