Randfontein mayor ignores electricity crisis

electricityRandfontein is in the middle of an electricity crisis. The Randfontein Local Municipality needs to come up with at least R61,2 million in order to keep the light on in the town.

Randfontein Executive Mayor Sylvia Thebenare have issued statements to the contrary regarding this matter.

The Herald has discovered that the municipality’s Infrastructure Department has detailed in a report to the Chief Financial Officer and the Acting Municipal Manager that they need at least R61,2 million worth of urgent intervention to be able to effectively provide electricity to Randfontein residents.

The first point mentioned in the report concerns the intake transformers at substations across Randfontein.

According to the report, the Randfontein Local Municipality only has one spare 10MVA intake transformer on hand, which currently is being repaired after it failed recently, leaving a large section of the agricultural holding areas in Randfontein without power for three days.

The report goes on to warn that if any of the other intake transformers currently in use should fail, all areas serviced by that substation will be without electricity for at least 12 weeks.

The report mentions that at least two of Randfontein’s primary substations and three secondary substations require urgent attention.

The repairs require an estimated R1,2 million.

These are not the only problems though, and the report goes on to discuss the state of the MV switches at substations.

Switches at two of the substations are old and unsafe to operate, requiring replacement at a cost of R500 000 each.

The big shock though, comes when the report goes into the state of the existing overhead as well as the underground electricity networks.

The report details seven areas in Randfontein where the existing overhead networks need urgent attention.

These areas are Wheatlands, Oosterplots, Elandsvlei, Loumarina, Bootha Plots, Pelzvale and Randfontein South, as well as Middelvlei.

In the report, Infrastructure Department Director Nokwazi Ndlala admits that the overhead electrical networks in these areas do not currently comply with regulations as set out by the National Energy Regulator with regard to quality of supply standards.

She warns that failure to refurbish the networks can result in costly legal implications for the municipality and possibly even the revocation of the municipality’s electricity distribution license.

The Department has projected that they need at least R22 million for these urgent repairs.

According to the report the underground electricity networks of Culemborg Park and Toekomsrus are 35 to 40 years old and need to be replaced urgently.

The cost of these project have been calculated to R10 million each.

The mayor’s recent response to an open letter published in the Herald is hard to believe in light of this document.

In her response, she says straight out that the electricity substations in Randfontein are not old and dilapidated, yet a report by her own director of Infrastructure states otherwise. – The Herald