Blast triggers blackout

2010-02-17 00:00

A TRANSFORMER at 346 Prince Alfred Street exploded and caught fire at the same time as a switch room at the corner of Prince Alfred and Retief Streets went up in smoke yesterday afternoon.

According to a municipal worker at the scene, the switch room contains another transformer, which carries 11 000 volts, but the transformer did not catch fire.

While this was happening the substation at the corner of Archbell and Commercial Road, which is the biggest in town, also tripped and locked down.

Onlookers at the scene speculated that overloading in one or some of the buildings in the area might have been the cause of the explosion.

“If it’s not overloading then the heat due to high temperatures can be the reason,” said one.

Parts of central Pietermaritzburg were left without electricity for several hours. Traffic police had to direct traffic at major intersections when traffic lights went down.

Msunduzi Municipality electricity process manager Maxwell Mthembu said it is unusual to have three power controllers explode simultaneously.

Mthembu said that all the efforts of the electricity department were directed at repairing the faults, and an investigation into their cause had therefore not been possible.

“This is quite strange,” he said, adding that “our electricians will investigate and identify the problem”.

He ruled out speculation that overloading or high temperatures were the cause of the explosions.

“I would say this is no big deal as we have managed to restore power and every­thing is under control.

“However, an investigation to ascertain the cause of will be undertaken,” he said.

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.