Eksom to resume work on 123km power line in KwaZulu-Natal

By Scott Birch
Construction of powerline to create 190 job opportunities across the five towns impacted by the project...

Eskom, the South African electricity public utility, is set to resume work on the construction of the final leg of the approximately 123-kilometre long transmission power line running through the uMgungundlovu and uThukela district municipalities in KwaZulu-Natal province.

In a statement, the company says that the towns impacted are Pietermaritzburg, Estcourt, Howick, Richmond and Mooi-River. The final construction of the 47-kilometre leg of this power line will start from the existing Venus substation in Estcourt and end at the existing Ariadne substation in Pietermaritzburg.

Eskom adds that it has been engaging with governmental, environmental and all relevant structures in the area, laying the groundwork for the construction to begin.

“It is important to note that this project will enable Eskom to fulfil its mandate of electricity provision to users in the area, as well as the entire province of KwaZulu-Natal,” says Bob Naraghi, the grid manager at Eskom Transmission. 

“Since 2005, Eskom has been expanding its infrastructure through additional power stations and power lines, as well as strengthening and upgrading existing electricity infrastructure. This in turn will ensure that electricity users experience reliable power supply and that we meet the country’s electricity demands.

“As a responsible corporate citizen, the utility aims to make a positive and lasting difference to the lives of all South Africans, especially within KwaZulu-Natal,” Naraghi states.

Highlighting the impact of COVID-19, Eksom says the project could not come at a better time. The utility provider says that the power line will contribute to bringing about economic change within the communities of the five affected local municipalities. The project has created 190 job opportunities, ranging from professional, skilled, semi-skilled and the unskilled workforce, benefitting communities within the municipalities impacted by the construction.

It states that 70 percent of the employed workforce has come from the local communities within the relevant towns, with the entire team completing induction at the beginning of October 2020.

“On completion, the project will not only contribute to improved stability of the transmission network but will also create a more flexible network that will enhance electricity reliability. More importantly, this line will also contribute to the economic growth of the province,” says Naraghi.

Eskom has also shared its Transmission Development Plan (TDP) for the period of 2021 to 2030 with various stakeholders during an online public forum. This process is part of Eskom’s Transmission licence requirements issued by the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (NERSA), which calls for Eskom to publish a TDP annually.

 Eskom in Gauteng has injected R41 million on an 88kV power line upgrade to strengthen the electricity network infrastructure in the northern areas of Johannesburg. Sylvester Barei, Asset Creation Senior Manager in Gauteng, said: “This double circuit twin turn 88kV line which is capable of delivering over 200 MVA is one of our flagship projects aimed at realising economic activities and improving the quality of life in Gauteng."

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