Spotlight on Eskom staff

2008-07-18 00:00

BUNGLED maintenance by Eskom workers is alleged to have wrecked a R2,5 million transformer that cut the power to Richmond for three days.

A source said the transformer oil was replaced with the incorrect oil, which caused it to trip. Maintenance work started on Sunday, and the transformer blew on Wednesday.

“If the oil is dirty, the windings would be shot and that might lead to an explosion,” said a source.

According to Eskom spokeswoman Saras Beemiah, the transformer tripped at about 4 pm on Wednesday. Eskom technical staff were “working non-stop to determine the reason for the transformer failure”.

A new transformer was received late on Thursday and tested, but there was no electricity throughout yesterday. Residents claim that the wrong transformer was brought in from Gauteng and had to be exchanged.

But Eskom regional communication officer Nhlanhla Madlala disputed the allegations. “The issue of wrong oil being put into the transformer is purely speculation and cannot be confirmed at this stage.

“Our technicians would have to investigate the inside of the transformer before any conclusions are drawn as to what caused it to trip.”

He also denied that the incorrect transformer was delivered to Richmond. “The replacement transformer came from our workshop in Mkondeni and no transformer was sent back.”

Power was restored by late yesterday. Madlala could not say whether businesses will be compensated for their losses.

“Eskom is currently not in a position to make any decisions until an investigation … has been completed,” he said.

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