On Wednesday, Johannesburg electricity service provider, City Power, announced that it will spend over ZAR500 million ($35.2 million) on upgrading six power substations. The refurbishment project will be carried out over the next three years.
These substations are located in Roodepoort, Wilro Park, Kloofendal, New Fleurhof, Tshepisong and Princess.
Ageing infrastructure battling to meet demand
According to Johannesburg Member of the Mayoral Committee for Environment and Infrastructure Services, Matshidiso Mfikoe, the Roodepoort distribution network would be upgraded from the current 33/6.6kW to 88/11kV, the City of Joburg reported.
Mfikoe emphasised that the existing network, which is more than 40 years old, had limited capacity to meet increased power demand in the region.
“The equipment has reached the end of its useful life and there are no more spares available or being manufactured. In the event of power outages, it took longer than necessary to restore power,” she said.
She said that they were upgrading the network to make it flexible and robust, adding that the timing of the investment is crucial in the sense that growth in the designated supply areas had substantially increased. This is in conjunction with no significant upgrade of the ageing electricity infrastructure having been made.
Mfikoe added that the resultant high electricity demand in the region had led to the power grid in the area becoming constrained, hence the move to give a boost to the electricity infrastructure.
“We are bringing the latest technology to enable City Power to remotely monitor the network from the control centre to prevent power outages or power loss. This will also help City Power to reduce maintenance costs and increase revenue.”
City Power implementing detailed upgrades
On completion, 1,000MVA is expected to be added to the utility’s current capacity.
City Power’s Managing Director Sicelo Xulu stated that changes to be implemented in Region C include the following:
- Replacement of the 33kV busbar at Kloofendaal
- Upgrading of the Wilro Park feeders from the current 33kV to 88kV
- Replacement of the existing 88/33KV 80MVA and 88/11kV 20MVA power transformers with two new 88/11kV 45MVA ones
- Allocation of space for a third 88/11kV power transformer, two 88kV feeder bays and 11kV feeder and standby board
- Removal of two 88kV feeders from Sentraal substation that have become redundant
- Upgrading of 88kV single busbar to a double busbar with a single buscoupler, and
- Removal of 33kV feeders to Ontdekkers substation.