The City’s main substation on the corner of Victoria and West streets, which was vandalised last week, caught fire yesterday, nearly plunging the city centre into darkness.The substation has been operating without its protection components as they were stolen. At the time the acting manager for infrastructure services, Brenden Sivparsad, told said that Msunduzi was caught between a rock and a hard place because it could either operate the substation without protection, which came with a risk of fire and electrocution, or it could switch it off, which would have left half the city centre without electricity. However, the City chose to take the risk and yesterday it faced the consequence when there was an explosion of a circuit breaker, which some attributed to ageing infrastructure.The fire was not big and firefighters managed to get to it before it damaged any parts of the substation.It was the security guards stationed at the substation who reported the explosion. They were deployed there as part of Msunduzi’s plan to safeguard its electricity infrastructure as it was suspected that a syndicate was targeting the substation.Msunduzi spokesperson Thobeka Mafumbatha said the municipality was expecting to spend about R552 462 on the repairs of the substation. She said the copper cables were stolen, two electrical switchgears broken and other components were stripped.“Fortunately the vandals did not cause an outage to the areas fed by this substation, but the protection of the whole substation was compromised and should there be a fault the following areas will be affected: city centre including St Anne’s Hospital and part of upper city centre including West Street and surroundings,” she said.Just weeks ago the new R59-million substation in Eastwood was stripped by thieves just before it could be commissioned.