High Risk Inland Mini Substations Mitigate Against Vandalism and Copper Theft

Electrical substations pose a number of unique challenges including vandalism and the theft of copper. This is especially true for mini substations, which are often located in residential areas and in remote rural areas, and applies to those owned by power utilities as well as private owners.

While larger substations are often protected using surveillance equipment, this is not always feasible with mini substations and apart from the unnecessary disruption of electrical services, the damage done to these installations could have potentially lethal consequences for maintenance personnel.

Working in collaboration with Eskom, WEG Transformers Africa (WTA), part of the Zest WEG Group, developed a vandal proof mini substation which is now approved by the power utility.

Andre Mans, chief operating officer of WTA, says that this approval is very important as it confirms the functionality as well as reliability of the vandal proof mini substation. “This level of approval not only underpins that the mini substation meets all the criteria but also gives absolute assurance to the marketplace,” Mans says. Notably, the mini substations are targeted at both power utilities and private end users.

The WTA vandal proof mini substations are ideal for installation in high risk areas. The entire enclosure, including doors and lock protection facilities, are constructed from 6 mm steel with the doors being specially reinforced. The four way locking mechanism is complemented by heavy duty door hinges. The transformer unit is sealed, further protecting the installation.

A major advantage is that the mini substation is constructed as a complete unit and is offloaded on site with its roof in position. This is advantageous to contractors as installation does not necessitate assembly of the unit.

Mans says that orders totalling just over 90 units have been received for this High Risk Inland

500 kVA 11/0.42 kV mini substation and these are destined for new residential development areas. The first batch of these mini substations was delivered in 2015.

The mini substations are manufactured at WTA’s Wadeville facility which underwent a complete modernisation programme over the last two years and this included streamlining of processes and upgrading of equipment. This modern operation now boasts best-in-class production and manufacturing capabilities.

The facility produces standard distribution, power and special application transformers ranging from 50 kVA to 10 MVA in voltages up to 66 kV with off-load tap switch or on-load tap-changers.

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