The City of Johannesburg needs to continuously refurbish and build substations to stabilise electricity supply and stimulate economic growth locally, in Gauteng and ultimately the country.
That is how the Executive Mayor of the City of Johannesburg, Cllr Herman Mashaba, kicked off proceeding at the official opening of the refurbished Wilropark substation on Thursday, 8 August 2019.
Mayor Mashaba said investing in infrastructure was key to job creation and revenue generation for Joburg. “Ultimately, a stable power supply means a greater chance of business growth in our communities, leading to the creation of much-needed jobs and growth of the local economy."
Before the refurbishments, the Wilropark substation, which has been operating for over 40 years, used to run on two 40MVA (megavolt amps) transformers, which had surpassed their lifespan.
“These upgrades are key to grid stability in Johannesburg where each individual upgrade contributes to a more reliable overall power supply. Wilropark substation supplies approximately 5 000 domestic and business customers in the Roodepoort area and the areas of Wilropark, Princess Crossing, Princess and Roodekrans will benefit directly from this upgrade," said Mayor Mashaba.
“The upgrade allows for any future service connections that can be made from the substation without compromising the stability of the grid. It's critical that we continue to increase capacity at substations to ensure we can meet the rising demand that comes with population growth, especially in Johannesburg.
“Despite the R170 billion infrastructure backlog inherited, along with continuous cable theft and vandalism, we will continue to work hard to bring Diphetogo (change) to the residents of Johannesburg by fast tracking projects like these," the mayor said.
The refurbishment and upgrades began during 2015/16 financial year and were completed in June 2019 at a cost of R131million. Wilropark substation is one of 11 major upgrades by City Power currently underway across the City of Johannesburg.
The substation now boasts three 45MVA transformers. Also installed is 88kv indoor gas-insulated switchgear, which is vital for remotely operating on circuit breakers.
Member of the Mayoral Committee for Environment and Infrastructure Services Cllr Nico de Jager said there are still challenges with electricity in other parts of Johannesburg, however, the substation will go a long way in improving the lives of the people of Roodepoort.
“The refurbishment bolsters economic activity not only in Roodepoort but throughout the City, particularly with Johannesburg being the strategic driver of Gauteng and South Africa as a whole," he said.
Part of the project was to upgrade Kloofendal substation feeder line supplying Wilropark from 33/11kv to a standard 88/11kv line. Two new feeder boards each with 17 panels were also installed and commissioned. These new feeder boards enable City Power to connect new customers to the substation without putting pressure on the electricity network.
A resident from Helderkruin Retirement Village, Anette Malan, said the work was seamless in that they didn't experience unplanned outages during this winter. “We have not had any long outages this year. We usually struggle with the donated food at the retirement home going off during power failures, however, we have not experienced such."