Is the GTM power crisis over?

22 May 2018  Read: 88


“No. This time of year merely offers a slight reprise from the frequent and prolonged power outages which the residents of the Greater Tzaneen Municipality have become accustomed to. There are no winds, and not so much rain, which means there are usually significantly less power outages than in the summer.”

According to our source within the GTM, many consumers may feel that there is a significant change in the frequency or period of the outages, but this is merely an eye blind. “What happens is now, when your power trips at your home, it is switched on at the power station. If it trips again, that is when they leave the switch off and send out an electrical team to the site to find the fault. Because of the weather conditions this time of year, there are very few of these outages. But the power crisis is long from over.”
The municipal manager, Thapelo Matlala has unveiled his plans to use the funds received from the DBSA during this “cooldown period” between seasons, to ensure that vegetation control is implemented and that more technicians are employed. A number of other key concerns have also been identified and prioritized.

Regarding the concern many residents in the Agatha, Yamorna, Hamawasha and Pompagalana areas have expressed regarding the missing transformer at the Yamorna Substation, our source revealed that this has very little impact on the situation.

“That substation is still standing empty, but the transformer that was there and which was removed a year ago, is really just a ‘nice-to-have’ more than an essential component to the grid. It was installed years ago as a means to counter the outages during the Agatha fires, and would be able to sustain the power in that area in case of fires. But its absence has no real bearing on the current situation.”

Besides the fact that most of the main substations in the GTM’s grid (which comprises of nearly 138 substations) have insufficient protection due to theft of buzzbars and the close-on 100 dysfunctional auto-reclosers (which cost in the region of R200 000 each to replace – excluding the R500 000 for installation) there is still the issue of whether or not Sam Lelope is qualified to head the Electrical Engineering Department.

According to our information, he is allegedly not qualified in accordance to the OHSA General Machines Regulations Act. We have also learnt that the GTM has allegedly found a way around this by employing a qualified engineer as a consultant. Lelope allegedly works under the supervision of this consultant which means that should anything go wrong, the consultant is qualified to take responsibility.

In the past, the GTM have denied that Lelope is not qualified. We have issued them with another enquiry regarding these allegations and we will report on their comment in the next edition.



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