Msunduzi power plan on track

2014-06-09 00:00

MSUNDUZI’S five-year plan to upgrade the municipal electricity infrastructure remains on track as the city prepares to borrow R250 million for the upgrade. Municipal manager Mxolisi Nkosi and his team were given the go ahead by the council to negotiate a loan with low and fixed interest cost over a 10-year period.

The city’s five-year power plan was first announced in February 2013. Head of electricity Sabatha Nomnganga said then that the aim was to replace the entire ageing electricity network and also build capacity for growth and greater demand on the grid. The total cost of the project would be around R892 million.

Sabata said at the time that they had already bought transformers for the Mkondeni, Northdale and Riverside sub-stations. These were prioritised because they served industrial parks.

The first part of the project had been financed by R100 million from the Department of Energy and R50 million from the municipality’s own coffers.

At the time Mxolisi said that the funding model for the rest of the upgrade would be drawn up and submitted to executive committee (Exco) for approval. The loan application is part of that funding model.

The overhaul of the city’s electricity infrastructure follows a 2012 report by the Independent Development Trust (IDT) on the dilapidated state of electricity in Msunduzi.

The report highlighted:

• Insufficient network capacity;

• Unreliable and poorly maintained sub-transmission cables and lines;

• Ageing equipment;

• Unreliable system protection;

• An unreliable system control

centre;

• A lack of an equipped maintenance team and accessories;

• A total collapse of the network could be a future scenario;

• Limited or no maintenance was being done;

• Major assets like transformers’ switch gears and protection relays were either old or not functioning and could lead to fatal injury of electricians working there; and

• Of the 40 transformers in the city, only three could be maintained; 37 needed to be replaced.

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