Parts of Menlo Park in the east of Pretoria have been left without power since Tuesday after a transformer exploded at 4th Street. Tshwane metro spokesperson Lindela Mashigo said the transformer exploded because of load-shedding. The regional maintenance team came to the scene and replaced the current transformer. However, residents should brace themselves for prolonged outages and electrical faults due to Eskom’s stage 6 load-shedding.
The Tshwane MMC for utilities and regional operations and coordination, Themba Fosi, said load-shedding damaged the City’s electricity infrastructure and could lead to prolonged power outages. “Our networks were never designed for load-shedding. Continuously turning the electricity network off and on has a major impact on the condition of our network infrastructure,” he said.
Fosi also warned that the raised levels of load-shedding are a crisis for their municipality, affecting both the electricity network and their ability to attend to outages. Stage 6 load-shedding means that rolling blackouts will affect regions of Tshwane two to three times a day for a minimum of six hours.
Additionally, vandalism and theft of city infrastructure and heavy rains have added to prolonged outages, Fosi said. He urged residents to turn off their appliances during load-shedding, leaving only light on to alert them when the power returns. “Residents can then only turn their appliances back on after some time has passed like 10 to 20 minutes. The surges generated as power is turned back on cause areas to trip only minutes after power has been restored, causing extended outages in some areas.”
Fosi assured residents that the City will work tirelessly to alleviate the electricity situation. “We continue to pursue long-term interventions to see what the City can do to help in this continuous challenge,” he said. “This includes launching our energy task team who is looking at alternative electricity solutions including renewable energy and power from independent power producers.”