No outages for Kragga Kamma substation until 2016

2015-06-30 15:25

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RESIDENTS who receive power via the Kragga Kamma substation can breathe a sigh of relief as load-shedding is not on the horison here anytime soon.

“This is due to the switch gear and transformer capability of that network,” explained Director of Metro Communications Roland Williams. 

Residents in areas which include Sunridge Park, Fernglen, Cotswold, Westering, Framesby, Linton Grange, Kabega, Taybank, Morningside and Vikingvale can expect to escape load-shedding until the “latter part of the 2015/’16 financial year,” explained Marthie Nel, Acting Communications Director.

Nel said, “With the advent of the load shedding programme in late 2014, the decision not to shed the Kragga Kamma loads was partly taken on the basis that the substation is now fed only by means of one transformer, which places a high risk on the integrity of the substation.”

Nel added that transformers cost approximately R12 million each and the Infrastructure and Engineering directorate does not carry spare transformers of this magnitude in its fleet or any spares for the older type of transformers.

“The fault occurred at the Kragga Kamma substation on October 6 when the 66kV bushings on transformer No 2 failed, which rendered the transformer in-operational. New bushings had to be ordered and manufactured for the transformer, since these types of spares, in particular for older transformers, are not readily available. The Kragga Kamma substation operates on two similar transformers, with one transformer being able to sufficiently carry the load of the areas fed by the substation,” said Nel.

Williams said once the repair, recapitalisation and upgrade of the substation was complete “all residents could look forward to being part of the revised load-shedding process,” said Nel.

DA spokesperson for Infrastructure and Engineering, Jonathan Lawack said he was appalled by the news that certain parts around the substation were exempt from load-shedding.

“We have not been told about it. This is unacceptable and unfair to the people who are subjected to load-shedding. It’s one thing if it is an area that includes a hospital for instance, that area may not be able to be switched off because you can’t switch off a hospital, but for you to have areas which have no load-shedding without any explanation save that it will be rectified later is unfair. If this is true, I will demand an explanation,” said Lawack.

Meanwhile Williams explained that while some parts of the city were enjoying uninterrupted power supply the now almost daily occurrence of load-shedding was placing enormous strain on the rest of the power infrastructure.

“Like a jet engine on an aircraft that is designed to run continuously to be at its most efficient, operating the distribution networks are the same. Constant interruption to the supply place stress on switch gear transformers and cables. This is due to the natural increase in loads and the loss of diversity when power is switched off for extended periods.”

Nel said new switchgear for both the 6,6 and 22kV switch panels have been ordered and delivered. “It is the intention to install these two switch panels in the second quarter of 2016. Following the installation of switchgear at our Brickmakerskloof substation, which has already commenced.”

Nel said delays in undertaking this work at Kragga Kamma substation were due to the fact that the directorate had purchased two containerized switch panels which will be used as an alternate method of supplying the outgoing circuits while the replacement of the switchgear commences so as to prevent unnecessary outages to consumers. “These are presently being utilised for the Brickmakerskloof substation refurbishment program. The costs for the purchasing and the installation of the switchgear at the Kragga Kamma substation is R10 761 829 and R2 400 000 respectively,” ended Nel.

Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chamber CEO Kevin Hustler said a lot of the substation switch gear in the Metro is aged in excess of 30 years and business was severely impacted through disruptions in power supply. “We have worked tireless with the municipality, in particular the Department of Energy and Electricity to identify and prioritise these refurbishments and do the upgrades of the substations.

“Maintenance funding for infrastructure upgrades must be allocated to replace faulty infrastructure as the need arises. We have, on behalf of business and citizens in the Nelson Mandela Bay, lobbied extensively for the substations to be prioritized as a matter of urgency. Our pleas have been heard and built into the Budget and Integrated Development Plan of the city,” Hustler added.

Hustler said they emphatically believe much greater funding with regards to the distribution networks and facilities in Nelson Mandela Bay region are needed and called on the municipality to seek external funding to support maintenance and refurbishment programmes. 

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