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Electricity Outages In Nelson Mandela Bay: What Happened Last Night And This Morning

By Tai Chishakwe - Nov 25, 2014
Electricity Outages In Nelson Mandela Bay: What Happened Last Night And This Morning

According to the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality, power outages experienced in some parts of the city on Monday night were caused by a fault and not load shedding.  

"At about 20:15 (8:15pm) last night (Monday, 24 November 2014) it was reported to our call centre that certain areas in Nelson Mandela Bay were without power.

"The Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality immediately dispatched our teams to the affected areas, and it was discovered that we had power outages at two of our major substations, namely Malabar and Kragga Kamma, both of which receive their electricity feeds from the Ditchling Substation which is located in Algoa Park," describes Roland Williams, Director of Communications at Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality.

"This resulted in a number of areas, including Kragga Kamma, Malabar, Gelvandale, Cotswold, Westering, Kabega, Fernglen, Sunridge, Framesby, Walmer, Walmer Downs, Springfield and Charlo being without power."

Williams said that the fault occurred on an overhead conductor that runs from Algoa Park through Malabar to Kragga Kamma, about 4,5km in length. 

"Our teams initially traced the line in order to locate exactly where the fault was on the 4,5km overhead conductor.  By 23:00 (11pm), we located the fault at the lattice tower in the vicinity of the quarry (just outside Malabar).  Because of the height of the tower and its awkward location, we had to dispatch specialised equipment, lighting and personnel to deal with the fault.

"It took our team of 6 professionals approximately 8 hours to fix the problem, in adverse weather conditions," he said.

"At 8:00 (8am) this morning (Tuesday, 25 November 2014) whilst we began switching the various affected areas back on, we discovered that there was a secondary fault at the Ditchling (Algoa Park) Substation. This resulted in a delay in the restoration of supply and, because of this, most areas were switched back on just after 09:30 (9:30am), with the exception of Walmer Downs which, unfortunately, was only able to be switched back on at 13:00 (1pm). 

"Walmer Downs then tripped again and, whilst we cannot categorically state, at this stage, what caused this to happen, we suspect this to be overloading on the system."

He said that the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality apologises to residents and businesses for the inconvenience caused. 

"Indeed, we are acutely aware and empathetic of the havoc that such outages cause to our valued residents from food in refrigerators, to babies' bottles not being able to be warned to school children learning under candlelight for the examinations.  We are, unfortunately, unable to predict such outages and as soon as one is reported to us, we endeavour to do everything we can, within the shortest space of time to resolve the problem and restore power to our people.

"We have a team of experts with decades of experience and they (and their families) sacrifice their time, despite the adverse situations and/or conditions, so that we power can be restored," said Williams.

What can you do to assist in the event of a power outage? 

Report accurate information to 041 506 5595, which is available twenty-four hours.

"The more accurate information we receive about where a fault is, the quicker we are able to attend thereto.  We appeal to the public not to use this number to vent your obvious frustrations - we fully understand them, but we do need to keep the line open for the gathering of information," said Williams.

"In addition, in the event of a power outage we ask people to switch off all appliances and lights so that there is not an overload on the system when power is restored.

"We thank the public for your cooperation in this regard and are grateful for your understanding and patience.

"We endeavour to keep the public informed at all times as to what the exact situation is."


1. Loadshedding is pronounced upon by Eskom, not the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality.

2. The Municipality has proactively worked out a schedule that, in the event of loadshedding by Eskom, will be applied.

3. In accordance with this schedule:

  • Each area is switched off for two hours within a twenty-four period;
  • A half-an-hour "switching-back-on" period is allowed for staggered reinstatement of power, in order to avoid an overload;
  • No loadshedding takes place between 22:00 and 06:00 (overnight).
  • Hospitals are not switched off.
  • Major factories and plants are not switched off.

4. Whilst we have a constructive relationship with Eskom, we are unable to predict as to when Eskom may request further loadshedding.

5. We therefore advise, in terms of planning, that residents and businesses plan around the schedule which is available on our website www.nelsonmandelabay.gov.za.