Pietermaritzburg power could be rotated to areas affected by outage

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A blaze erupted at Msunduzi’s Retief primary substation on Wednesday morning.
A blaze erupted at Msunduzi’s Retief primary substation on Wednesday morning.

As many Pietermaritzburg residents who had been without power for five days since Wednesday celebrated as their power slowly returned on Monday morning, thousands more are still in the dark.

In a 6 am update from Scelo Duma, the Ministerial Representative at Msunduzi Municipality, he said the teams worked at the Retief Street substation which was damaged in a fire until the early hours of Monday morning "under difficult circumstances". He said they finally resolved the persistent faults which were encountered after fixing the control unit. 

He said the switch-on began at just after 3am on Monday.

"The Control Room is monitoring the load and bringing on areas in phases. One of the feeders failed again and has been isolated. The teams will be returning to the site as soon as they have rested. They will fix the feeder that failed again.

"All areas that were off have been switched on except for the following areas that are partly-on: Townbush, Montrose, Chase Valley and Oak Park. The parts that are still off will be brought back once the load is under control and if they are affected by the feeder that failed, they will be brought on once that feeder has been fixed.

"The load is being monitored hourly. The load in areas such as Montrose (the part that is on) is presently high. Residents are requested to switch-off their geysers and other unnecessary appliances."

Duma said that the control unit was not fixed in its entirety.

"The municipality is this morning finalising an agreement with Eskom to install a busbar which will handle the rest of the load. That solution will take about two to three days to install. During that period there may be a need to introduce load shedding in parts of the city that were affected by the fire damage on Retief Street Primary substation. If this becomes necessary, customers will be notified accordingly.  The inconvenience is regretted."

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