Stabilising the power supply at Joburg’s Bara

Yen-Hsiang Jason Huang, Outreach Engineering


Published in:

Electricity+Control, January 2016 (pages 36 – 38)

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The Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic Hospital (Bara), one of the largest in the world, needs to restore and modernise an ageing infrastructure if it is to sustainably support its staff, equipment and patients. Over the years, there has been a decline in infrastructure maintenance, development and sustainability. As a result, the hospital has an unreliable council electricity supply. This, in addition to an inadequate back-up power system, means that the hospital’s critical services are sometimes left without power. Outreach Engineering has embarked on an exercise to ‘heal’ the hospital by improving the reliability of the power supply in the main operating theatre complex. Among the many problems:

• The hospital currently has back-up generators in place, but the back-up system is poorly designed and unsuitable for JDAC’s needs.
• There is a lack of accurate and up-to-date documentation for the hospital’s electrical reticulation
• The earthing system has been poorly maintained and electrical equipment (including exposed cables, plug points and distribution boards) is in poor condition
• The back-up system is poorly designed and unsuitable for JDAC’s needs
• The HVAC was not operating at capacity
• The lighting technology at the hospital is outdated, inefficient and in some areas, inadequate


Take note

  • Regular people can make a difference.
  • CSI investments can be channelled into real engineering projects – but they need engineering oversight.
  • A number of major comanies are now supporting the Bara project.