Substation explosion leaves large parts of Tshwane without power

Load shedding returns at 9am on Wednesday, 19 August 2020. Image: iStock.

While power had been restored to the southern parts of Tshwane, it remained unclear when power would be restored to the east.

An explosion of an isolator, between the Njala 132 KW substation and Waltloo, left several parts of Pretoria without power on Monday morning.

The City of Tshwane metro spokesperson Lindela Mashigo said the explosion occurred at around 6.30am.

“The blast resulted in a power blackout which affected the southern and eastern parts of Pretoria,” he said.

By mid-morning, however, power was restored to a few neighbourhoods in the southern parts of Pretoria such as Centurion, Zwartkops, Die Hoewes and Claudius through a back-feed mechanism.

“The metro’s artisans are still busy isolating the fault in all areas, especially those that are in the east of Pretoria which are still affected,” Mashigo said.

It remained unclear when power was expected to be restored to the remainder of the affected areas.

“We will disclose the estimated time of restoration during the course of the day as we believe that will be possible once we have identified the fault,” Mashigo said.

Meanwhile, some residents in Pretoria have recently voiced their frustrations over excessively high municipal bills.

Former local ward councillor Yolanda Duvenhage said she had received more than 500 complaints from residents over unusual high billing.

Duvenhage said this issue was even more “complex” with the metro serving residents with demand letters with cut off dates while credit control offices struggled to operate.

“This has to be one of the first times as a councillor I experienced such high complaints over incorrect billing. It is not just residents, but businesses which had not operated during lockdown who were also left with these huge bills,” she said.

Second on the residents’ complaints was the newly implemented fixed water and sanitation connection charge introduced by the metro in July.

Duvenhage said the main problem the residents had was over lack of awareness of the restructuring of the billing system.

Mashigo argued that the new structure allowed for a network availability charge to enable the metro to do better maintenance.

“This is a fixed charge for all households, including sectional title units, which is not related to consumption. It also includes the first 9kl usage per 30 days period. This structure is a more just allocation of cost as the networks maintenance cost is related to pipe length, and not consumption,” he said.

“The network availability charges are R120 per 30 days for water and R70 per 30 days for sanitation, excluding VAT.”

Mashigo, however, said customers with properties valued below R150,000 were not charged.

On complaints about high billing, Mashigo urged residents to visit the metro’s Tshwane customer service to inquire about their bills.

“We will, however, as the metro looks into the issue with the relevant departments.”

This article first appeared on Rekord and was republished with permission.

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