HomeIndustry SectorsGenerationHow electricity crisis in Bloem- fontein was solved

How electricity crisis in Bloem- fontein was solved

Bloemfontein’s Bayswater
distribution centre with the
transformer that Power
Transformers supplied to
replace the failed unit
9 January 2012 – During 2011 the South African city of Bloemfontein suffered a major blackout due to a power failure in one of its primary electricity distribution centres, the 132 kV/33 kV/11 kV Bayswater, which provides approximately a third of the city’s electricity supply.

The power failure also triggered a water supply crisis, as Bayswater is the power source for the city’s main water supply. “While Bayswater was down Bloemfontein was solely reliant on its own internal supply from Maselspoort Water Treatment Works, which provides 40% of the potable water,” Leon Kritzinger, executive manager, engineering, of Centlec, Bloemfontein’s electricity supply company, says.

The problem was due to a failure of the power transformer at Bayswater. Centlec contacted South Africa’s power utility Eskom and all local power transformer manufacturers to see if an 80 MVA replacement unit was available to replace the failed one.

It turned out that Actom Power Transformers had a transformer of the required rating at its Wadeville, Germiston, plant that it had just completed manufacturing and testing as one of number of 80 MVA units on order from Eskom. After consultation with Eskom it was soon agreed that the available unit be supplied for installation at Bayswater to get it up and running again as quickly as possible.

“The transformer was offered to Centlec within a day of our receiving their first request and they formally placed an order with us a few days later. Some minor modifications had to be made to the transformer to suit their specific requirements,” Ronnie Russell, Actom Power Transformers’ general manager, says. 

This transformer was commissioned at Bayswater a little over a month after the blackout occurred.