Joburg to spend R1bn on electricity upgrades - but backlog is R19bn

Johannesburg is building new substations and upgrading others to help deal with power outages.
Johannesburg is building new substations and upgrading others to help deal with power outages.

Johannesburg will spend more than R1bn in the current financial year on upgrading its infrastructure and building new substations to deal with electricity outages.

MMC for environment and infrastructure services Nico de Jager told this to  TimesLIVE on Thursday ahead of the official opening of a substation in Heriotdale, south of Johannesburg.

De Jager said the substation would add stability to Johannesburg’s power grid.

City Power said the new substation addresses outages experienced by residents, businesses and industries, especially in the southeastern parts of Johannesburg.

The Heriotdale substation will also allow for future inter-connectivity with Cleveland substation to provide contingency in case of a power outage, said City Power.

"The substation will mainly benefit businesses as it is in an industrial area. We have budgeted R1.25bn on refurbishment and new infrastructure," said De Jager. "We are spending over 70% of our budget on refurbishment and building. The other 30% will be spent on infrastructure that is not necessarily related to power."

He said the city had started building a new substation in Eldorado Park and was in the process of upgrading the Roosevelt, Cleveland and Ennerdale substations.

TimesLIVE reported in 2018 that the city was facing major challenges with respect to its ageing power infrastructure. De Jager said then that more than 27% of the city's bulk transformers operated beyond their useful lifespans‚ while the electrical infrastructure backlog stood at a staggering R19bn.

"This is one of the key areas on which the multi-party government seeks to make an impact. This is the fundamental change we wish to bring to Johannesburg‚" he  said.