City Power, the City of Johannesburg’s electricity utility, on Tuesday June 13 conducted the first-ever mobile onsite testing on high-voltage power transformers in South Africa at the Delta substation in Hurlingham, near Sandton, as part of its ongoing initiatives to ensure that long and extended power outages in Johannesburg are a thing of the past.
City Power, in partnership with national power utility Eskom, recently bought a mobile high-voltage power transformer testing trailer from German-based company Maschinenfabrik Reinhausen to perform specialised testing on high-voltage power transformers in Johannesburg.
Speaking at the launch of the technology, Member of the Mayoral Committee for Environment and Infrastructure Services Cllr Nico de Jager said in view of its R69-billion development and maintenance of electricity infrastructure backlog, the City had decided to be innovative and keep up with international trends that have proved successful in addressing such power failures.
MMC De Jager said City Power had over the past few years been experiencing numerous power outages at one of its transformers, to the inconvenience of residents and at a great cost to the economy. He said to ensure that extended and unnecessary power outages became a thing of the past, City Power would retest faulty power transformers using the new technology rather than conventional testing methods that had not yielded adequate results.
“Mobile onsite high-voltage tests on transformers are increasingly considered a necessity for a quick onsite. This type of testing will ensure that downtime is reduced as repairs will be done speedily, ensuring that residents do not spend long hours without electricity.”
He said using mobile testing on site would also enable City Power to make informed decisions on the repair of power transformers based on proper diagnosis analysis and allow possible repairs to be conducted on site without having to transport the power transformers.
“Due to the sheer size of the power transformers, at a cost of R35-million each, it is extremely expensive and time-consuming to transport and untank them in a workshop. In this regard, mobile onsite testing is also cost-effective,” he said.
Cllr de Jager also pointed out that electrical insulation also aged over a period of time, depending on operating conditions.
He said it was, therefore, essential for City Power to extend the remaining life cycle of faulty transformers to at least 40 years or longer.
He said the City was committed to not only delivering quality service that residents demanded and deserved, but also to setting standards for other metros and municipalities throughout the country as far as innovation and finding long term solutions to service delivery are concerned.
Mdu Nzimande, City Power’s Director of Engineering Services, said power transformers were critical assets in the power utility’s electrical network.
Maschinenfabrik Reinhausen SA Managing Director Kobus de Villiers said the system, which was already in use in
the United States, Australia, China and Europe, supplied up to 300KVs of power.