Gauteng power outages are here to stay

The supply of electricity to many parts of Gauteng will remain erratic over winter, with illegal connections and the continued roll-out of smart meters contributing factors.

According to a report by the City Press, Eskom said illegal connections to power substations have put strain on its supply to a number of areas in Gauteng – with cold weather adding to demand.

It said along with the roll-out of smart meters in houses, the company was building bigger substations which would increase power capacity.

The new substations will also prevent local residents from “fiddling and tampering” with them, and prevent illegal connections.

New installations have been completed in parts of Soweto, Midrand, and Sandton. The installation of the smart meters and new substations is expected to take between three to five years.

Overloading the system

Eskom said illegal connections to substations were only part of the problem, as the perpetrators of the connections also tamper with switches that are meant to trip when the system overloads.

This prevents the substation from tripping its power when overloaded – which the people hooking up illegal connections know will take place – and has resulted in substations exploding.

City Power said illegal connections and cable theft were a major problem for it, with illegal connections costing the power utility about R900 million a year.

This follows illegal connections overloading the grid, causing power outages across parts of Johannesburg, on Friday.

The full report is in the City Press, 19 June 2016.

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Gauteng power outages are here to stay