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City Power expects to fully restore electricity to Alexander on Thursday

Thousands of residents have been left without power after a fire destroyed a switching sub-station overnight.

City Power workers weld up an electricity power box to prevent access to cable thieves and vandals. Picture: @JoburgMPD/Twitter

JOHANNESBURG - Joburg City Power said that due to the extent of the damage caused to the Vasco da Gama sub-station, electricity would only be restored to Alexandra sometime this week.

Thousands of residents have been left without power after a fire destroyed a switching sub-station overnight.

Criminals attempted to strip copper from the power distribution lines, causing the sub-station to trip and burst in flames.

Hundreds of households and small businesses have now been affected by the outage with no indication on how long residents will have to go without power.

City Power spokesperson Isaac Mangena said that electricity may only be fully restored on Thursday.

This means that residents in Alexandra will have to brave the cold, while local businesses in the area will lose out on their livelihood.

"The whole infrastructure inside the sub-station has burned down, including the cables as well, so part of the work will be to dig trenches so that we can do the joins and prepare and also to put in new transformers before we can try to and test and restore power because the fire was really extensive."

Mangena said that in June alone, four sub-stations in the high-density township exploded, risking the lives of residents who lived in clustered informal houses.

"This is not the first fire at the same sub-station and one of the shacks caught fire around it. Another small house was built on top of the cables, so for us to be able to repair and restore electricity took us a week because we had to bring down that house. In high-density areas like Alexandra, the problem is serious, even dangerous."

Alexandra is one of the hot spots for illegal connections, vandalism and cable theft, with some residents trading copper cables to scrapyards for income.

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