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From left: Alderman Leon van Wyk (Executive Mayor of George), Cllr Nosicelo Mbethe (Portfolio Councillor for Electrotechnical Services & Fleet), Dr Michele Gratz (Municipal Manager), Bongani Mandla (Director of Electrotechnical Services), Kobus Wilken (Deputy Director of Electrotechnical Services), Jacques Lawrence (Senior Manager: Distribution and Thembani Mzekeli (Manager Testing and Protection).

In its pursuit of continuously making use of the latest technological equipment, the George Municipality has now upgraded its protection of the Palotti substation from the conventional telemetry integration to the new intelligent type of equipment to obtain data from the substation.

According to Kobus Wilken, a deputy director in the Electrotechnical Services, the George Municipality started implementing substation integration instead of conventional telemetry in the early 2000s. Only a few Municipalities are currently using this method of obtaining data from substations.

Wilken says that the Palotti substation’s protection was the latest to be upgraded to the new intelligent type of equipment.  “This method has many advantages over the conventional way of protecting the power system and obtaining valuable substation information. Some of the advantages are that the George Municipal network control centre will continuously receive information regarding the state of the 11kV substation equipment.” 

“Whenever the power system protection equipment detects a fault, it switches off the particular circuit breaker to isolate the fault.  Information regarding the fault is then automatically sent to the control and SMSs are sent to electricians to notify them of the trip.   Response times are also greatly reduced because of the information that is sent to the network control centre for immediate action,” Wilken added.

The Executive Mayor of George, Alderman Leon van Wyk, accompanied by the Portfolio Councillor for Electrotechnical Services Nosicelo Mbethe and the Municipal Manager George Dr Michele Gratz recently visited the Palotti substation to familiarise themselves with how it works. “I’m very much impressed with how the Municipality continues to move with times to use the latest technology for service delivery,” Mayor van Wyk said.

Bongani Mandla, the director of the George Municipality’s Electrotechnical Services said the Municipality will eventually have all their substations’ protection upgraded using this type of technology as part of the drive towards a smart city.