GEORGE NEWS - A faulty Eskom power line would have left Wilderness and surrounds completely without electricity last weekend were it not for the ongoing problem-solving of a municipal electrotechnical team and the cooperation of Wilderness residents.
Issues with the power became apparent on Saturday morning, and the problem was identified by the afternoon as a fault on a 66kV Eskom line that feeds the Wilderness substation.
George Municipality's Electrotechnical Department managed to provide power to Wilderness Heights and the central business district from early on Saturday evening.
"By Sunday morning they managed to pick up the load for most of the areas affected, except for Kleinkrantz, Langvlei Dunes, which are too far in distance from George, and Touwsranten - an area which is supplied of power solely by Eskom," said municipal spokesperson Chantel Edwards-Klose.
"The ability to pick up the additional load relied heavily on the residents keeping their consumption of electricity to a minimum to avoid tripping, which they duly did, and we were able to keep the electricity on until Eskom completed repairs around 18:00 on Sunday 9 May."
Plan of action
George Municipality supplied Wilderness from a feeder that comes from its substation at the Garden Route Mall, roughly 15km from Wilderness' CBD.
"According to our licence agreement and NRS standards, we have to maintain certain voltage levels in order to comply with quality-of-supply specifications," said Edwards-Klose.
"The combination of voltage levels, loading and distance needs to be finely balanced to remain compliant with said quality-of-supply specifications. We were able to do this with the help of all residents of Wilderness as they used electricity extremely sparingly. It is unfortunate that the distance to Kleinkrantz and Langvlei Dunes was too much of a stretch for us to keep the network balanced in their favour."
An indirect result of the Eskom power outage was discoloured drinking water, which was noticed on Monday this week. All was expected to be back to normal by Monday afternoon. "The power outage affected the waterworks pump stations and reservoirs were running low. The water, although discoloured, is safe to drink," said Edwards-Klose.
George Municipality also provided a vegetation team to assist Eskom in gaining access to its lines, which are located on difficult terrain.
"There has been positive feedback from a number of residents at our pro-active response to the Eskom crisis. This is however not a solution that can be implemented easily and only works in certain scenarios," said Edwards-Klose.
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