Eskom replaces over 400 transformers damaged by overloading

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Eskom has replaced 400 transformers damaged by network overloading since January

Photo by Bloomberg

12th June 2024

By: Tasneem Bulbulia

Senior Contributing Editor Online


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State-owned utility Eskom says that it has replaced 400 transformers damaged by network overloading, since January.

The entity points out that, as demand for electricity rises while temperatures fall with the onset of winter, the issue of network overloading has resurfaced in some areas owing to electricity theft.

Electricity theft is wide-ranging and includes illegal connections, network equipment theft, vandalism, meter bypasses and tampering, unauthorised network operations and buying electricity from illegal vendors, Eskom explains.

It avers that there are currently about 2 500 transformers that are frequently overloaded across the country and at risk of failing, with just under 1 000 transformers isolated and awaiting replacement.

“Overloaded transformers as a result of electricity theft present a serious risk to human life. The time, funds and manpower used to replace these transformers could have been used to improve the reliability of our network, electrify more communities, improve the experience of our paying customers, and create more jobs,” emphasises Eskom Distribution acting group executive Agnes Mlambo.

“A transformer damaged by overloading can leave an area without power for up to six months,” she adds.

To prevent load reduction and abrupt loss of supply, Eskom has launched the ‘Save Your Transformers, Save Lives’ campaign, which urges customers to reduce their consumption, ensure the electricity they consume is legally connected, paid for and bought from legal vendors.

The entity explains that Eskom uses the long-established process of load reduction in specific areas when there is sufficient electricity available, but a transformer is in danger of overloading, whereas loadshedding is used when there is an insufficient supply of electricity.

“Load reduction is a proactive measure that Eskom uses to protect human life, and equipment worth millions of rands – particularly mini substations, transformers and people’s livelihoods,” the entity highlights.

The utility urges customers to report criminal activities such as illegal connections, theft and vandalism that can damage transformers, mini-substations and other electricity infrastructure, to the Eskom Crime Line on 0800 112 722. 

Edited by Chanel de Bruyn
Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor Online




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