Thursday, April 16, 2009

Downstream effect causes brownouts in Johannesburg

SHOOT: It's interesting how the use of words such as 'power failure' or 'blackout' are avoided. Instead the word 'tripped' is harmlessly inserted, as though an appliance somewhere malfunctioned (no one's fault, understand) and had small, incidental consequences (systemic systems failure across the whole city). Something tripped, the city was without power, no big deal. The problem could have been caused by theft or vandalism or a transmission line problem. That's code for: no one knows why this happened, sorry.
clipped from

Many areas in Johannesburg lost power on Thursday. Areas without power included the central business district, the south, and north-eastern suburbs.

City Power spokesman Louis Pieterse said the substation located in Prospect tripped, causing various other smaller substations which it supplies to lose power.

“It’s a ’downstream effect’, Prospect is a substation that imports the electricity from Eskom — this results in various grids in Johannesburg losing power,” he said.

“There are about 30 areas without power, including the areas in the CBD, Gresswold, Kensington, Bellevue, Mondeor, Glenvista, Rosettenville and Booysens.”

Johannesburg metro police spokesman Wayne Minnaar said traffic lights in the Johannesburg CBD were not working, causing major disruptions to people travelling to work.

Bree, Sauer and Rissik streets were among those affected, as well as Houghton, Parktown, Orange Grove and most of the inner city.

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