Explosion at substation wipes out power to half of Durban

14 March 2018 - 13:56 By Jeff Wicks
An explosion at the 275kv substation at Klaarwater outside Durban caused a power outage to half of Durban. Firefighters controlled the small fire.
An explosion at the 275kv substation at Klaarwater outside Durban caused a power outage to half of Durban. Firefighters controlled the small fire.
Image: Jeff Wicks

An explosion at a 275 kilo volt substation in Klaarwater‚ Durban‚ on Wednesday morning led to a major power outage‚ leaving half the city without power.

An official at the substation‚ who spoke to TimesLIVE on condition of anonymity‚ said that there was a “small fire”.

He said that a circuit breaker had burnt out‚ prompting a quick response from eThekwini Metro firefighters.

At midday though‚ all emergency personnel had left the scene.

eThekwini Municipality’s communications head‚ Tozi Mthethwa‚ said areas in the northern‚ western and southern regions of the city were “still without power and electricity is expected to be restored in the next few hours”.

However‚ power has been restored in some areas across the city. “Technicians are on site to assess the damage and the cause of the explosion.”

A well-placed source within the city’s disaster management sphere confirmed that a fire incident had been reported at the substation. He hastened to add that the outage and the fire were not absolutely connected.

He said that “a flash” had been reported‚ warranting a response from the fire department.

The flash referred to could have been the ignition of oil emitted from the transformers in a fine mist‚ or the arching of high voltage power.

He said an investigation would be required to determine the root cause.

Meanwhile the KZN department of health said patient care was not affected when generators at the RK Khan hospital - which were activated following the outage - had “blown” causing black plumes of smoke.

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