Reason for power outage Vanderbijlpark


By Stanley Gaba – Manager Communications, Marketing, Branding and Events managing

The cause of the outage this week affecting the whole of Vanderbijlpark area was an SF6 (Sulfur hexafluoride) circuit breaker that blew up, on the Eskom supply side. Sulfur hexafluoride circuit breakers (SF6) protect electrical power stations and distribution systems by interrupting electric currents, when tripped by a protective relay. Instead of oil, air, or vacuum, a sulfur hexafluoride circuit breaker uses sulfur hexafluoride (SF6) gas to cool and quench the arc on opening a circuit. Advantages over other media include lower operating noise and no emission of hot gases, and relatively low maintenance. Developed in the 1950’s and onward, SF6 circuit breakers are widely used in electrical grids at transmission voltages up to 800 kV, as generator circuit breakers, and in distribution systems at voltages up to 35 kV.

Sulfur heaxafluoride circuit breakers may be used as self-contained apparatus in outdoor air-insulated substations, or maybe incorporated into gas-insulated switchgearwhich allows compact installations at high voltages.


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