Homeless people ‘invade’ substations
HOMELESS people “invading” City Power substations for shelter are a “widespread problem” which causes death and millions of rand in lost infrastructure for the Joburg entity.
This was according to City Power spokesperson Isaac Mangena, who said yesterday that the cost of last week’s fire at the entity’s transformer substation near Newclare, which claimed the life of one homeless person and injured another, could be up to a million rand because of the damage to infrastructure.
City Power said it believed last week’s fire was started by the two homeless people who allegedly used the transformer substation as a place to sleep.
Mangena said the use of the entity’s substations was “a widespread problem” due to the high number of homeless people requiring shelter. “This is because there are a lot of homeless people who invade (the substations) and make them their homes.
“They break the locks which we use to secure the substations and move in with their belongings. The substations are warm because of the power that is generated.
“So, during cold or rainy weather, you will find that many homeless people use our substations as shelter. That is where the worry is, as seen with what happened last week,” Mangena said.
“The cost to replace a substation can reach up to a million rand.
“We were forced to replace that transformer substation with a mini substation.
“That mini substation, on its own, costs just over R600 000, and there are many other things which are attached to that cost. So, it is a huge amount of money, as you can imagine.
“Another major cost is that of inconveniencing other people in that area because now they have not had electricity for the past three days,” Mangena added.