Transformer tester debuts in SA for first time
THE CITY of Joburg has launched South Africa’s first mobile on-site test of high-voltage power transformers, at the Delta substation in Sandton.
An excited member of the mayoral committee (MMC) for environmental and infrastructure service delivery, Nico de Jager, said that in light of the city’s R69 billion backlog in development and maintenance of electricity support, the city needed to be innovative in keeping up with international trends, “which have proven to be successful in addressing such infrastructure failure”.
Maschinenfabrik Reinhausen South Africa (MR) recently bought a mobile HighVolt power transformer testing trailer and partnered with City Power and Eskom in an effort to perform specialised tests on high-voltage transformers.
De Jager explained that high-voltage tests on transformers are increasingly considered a necessity because of the need for quick on-site repairs, running of diagnostics, installations and quality conformation.
“This type of testing will ensure that downtime is reduced as repairs will be done speedily, ensuring that residents do not spend long periods of time without electricity, especially during the upcoming cold winter months,” he said.
“City Power purchases electricity from Eskom at Delta substation, which is then distributed to three large power transformers, which in turn supply many substations across the city.
“As such, these power transformers are critical assets in City Power’s electrical network,” De Jager said.
“Over the course of the past year, and to the inconvenience of many residents, City Power has experienced numerous power trips at one of these transformers.
“To ensure that extended outages become a thing of the past, City Power will retest this faulty transformer with new technology rather than conventional testing methods, which have not yielded adequate results.”
This type of technology is already used in the US, Australia, China and several European countries.
According to De Jager, making use of mobile testing onsite would also enable City Power to make informed decisions about the repair of the transformers based on proper diagnostic analysis and allow for possible repairs to be conducted on-site without having to transport the transformer to a workshop.
“Due to the sheer size of the transformers, and at a cost of approximately R35 million each, it is extremely expensive and time-consuming to transport and ‘detank’ them in a workshop.
“In this regard, mobile onsite testing is also cost effective,” De Jager noted.
He also said electrical insulation ages over time, depending on its operating conditions, and it was thus essential for City Power to extend the remaining life-cycle of faulty transformers by another 40 years or longer.
“The city is committed to not only delivering the quality services that our residents demand and deserve, but to also set the standard for other metros and municipalities across the country in terms of innovation and finding a long-term solution to our electricity woes,” he concluded.
‘Long-term solution to our electricity woes’
INNOVATIVE: MMC Nico de Jager at the launch of South Africa’s first mobile trailer for on-site testing of high-voltage power transformers in Sandton yesterday.