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Overload trips burden City’s electrical infrastructure

Date: 2023-02-08 14:04:42

Overload trips burden City’s electrical infrastructure

Residents are encouraged to switch off non-essential appliances during load shedding. This will assist to
prevent overload trips, which is an in rush of currents when power is switched back on.

THE CITY’S Electricity Unit has had a challenging start to the year as numerous overload trips after load shedding have left several areas in eThekwini plunged in darkness. Overload trips are a result of in rush currents when power is switched back on. 

The unit’s Medium Voltage/Low Voltage Operations Deputy Head Veer Ramnarain said the network was not designed to handle frequent switching on and off as load shedding demands. “Under normal circumstances, our network would only get switched off and back on once every three years but lately this happens more than once a day depending on the schedule. This puts additional strain on the reliable operation of the network. The current heatwave has also not made it easy as it contributes to a higher occurrence of faults.” Prolonged outages caused by overload trips do not just inconvenience customers, but further regress progress made on repairing electrical infrastructure previously damaged during the floods in April last year. 

Despite being inundated by such challenges, the City’s engineers and technicians continue to work hard to restore power and ease the pressure on the network. While the overload trips have been felt across the City, there are certain areas that have been highly susceptible to overload trips. These include Ottawa, Phoenix, Newlands East, Verulam, Redcliffe, Chatsworth, uMlazi, Queensburgh, Amanzimtoti, Folweni, and parts of Adams Mission. Customers are urged to switch off high load appliances such as geysers, stoves, and kettles during power outages and switch them on in a staggered or random manner when power returns.