Overload in a transformer in Seville in an area with 10 times more power than the volume contracted

Estado en el que ha quedado el transformador instalado hace menos de dos años.
State in which the transformer was installed less than two years ago.

In the early morning of 19 August, the transformer located in the Murillo neighbourhood in the Polígono Sur Industrial Estate was unable to withstand the overload on the network as a result of massive fraud, especially by marijuana plantations.

The centre consisted of two transformers each with 1,000 KVA of power. It was one of these two transformers that caught fire due to conditions to which it was subjected, even though it had been reinforced and updated just over two years ago.

Despite having the capacity to supply more than 1,200 customers on its own, the affected transformer currently only had 105 customers with a valid contract, in other words it could supply ten times more power than the volume contracted. However, and even though the installation was much larger than required, the overload resulting from illegal hook-ups caused serious damage.

The transformer affected by the overload had been renovated and reinforced in mid-2021, including an expansion of power even though it had not registered an increase in customers with a valid contract. This improvement had been made out in order to try to alleviate the problems caused in the area as a result of illegal hook-ups.

Other measures were also taken to reinforce the low voltage network. In July this year, reinforcement work was undertaken in the Calle Don Juan Tenorio Street and the Plaza Don Quijote de la Mancha involving the installation 5 kilometres of low voltage cabling in addition to the 8 kilometres installed in 2022.

Últimas actuaciones realizadas en julio de 2023 en la zona
Last actions carried out in July 2023 in the area

Repair of the transformer affected by the overload

Endesa technicians were working all morning from Saturday to Sunday to replace the affected transformer and restore the supply as soon as possible to the 105 customers with a valid contract in the area, with service restored at 6am on Sunday.

Endesa's technicians worked in coordination with the Fire Brigade who guaranteed safety in the area that had reached temperatures above 60ºC. Once the affected transformer has been uninstalled, the damaged cabling was removed.

The complete renovation of the transformation centre, including the replacement of the transformer and 220 metres of state-of-the-art cabling represented an investment of €29,500.

Nuevo transformador y cableado sustituido.
New transformer and wiring replaced.

Investments to strengthen the network in the Polígono Sur

Endesa allocated nearly €2.5 million in actions to improve the quality and security of electricity supplies in the Polígono Sur Industrial Estate in Seville in 2022. These investments in the Low- and Medium-Voltage networks were undertaken not only to ensure the supply to customers, but above all to protect them from the serious consequences resulting from the manipulation of distribution networks, something which has become a reality in this part of Seville.  

The saturation of the networks causes the fuses in the installations to blow in order to protect the people who live in these areas, which is why Endesa made this investment effort to strengthen this safety by renovating the electricity infrastructure.  

In this regard, Endesa acted in this area by undertaking 21 civil-engineering works that enabled the strengthening of 23.3 kilometres of medium- and low-voltage circuits. This was in addition to the improvement of 9 transformers and the installation of a new transformer in the Ronda Nuestra Señora La Oliva. 

These actions were in addition to those undertaken by the company in 2021:  

  • Increase in the power at 6 transformer centres that increased from 1,000 KVA of power to 2,000 KVA each. 
  • Channelling of 8 kilometres of low-voltage cabling and 2 kilometres of medium-voltage cabling.   
  • Installation of 6 remote controls, to digitalise the transformation centres so immediate action could be taken in the event of an incident. 
  • Repair of the Martínez Montañés transformation centre as a result of the fires suffered in July and November 2021. Almost all the installation's elements were replaced, including the Medium-Voltage cells, the two 1,000 kVA transformers, the telecommunications cabinets and the medium- and low-voltage cabling. 

In addition to the investment in the maintenance and development of the network, Endesa also allocated very large amounts to the repair of sabotaged installations, which sometimes involved the complete replacement of the electrical infrastructure following the fire caused by overload, as in the case of the 4 transformation centres that caught fire in the Polígono Sur in 2022.

In addition to these investments in these areas of Seville, Endesa is also working at the institutional level, since the problem is not so much network deficiencies, but rather a much more complex problem that requires the participation of all institutions.   

In this regard, Endesa is participating in all the initiatives and working groups called by the Regional Government of Andalusia, the Government Sub-delegation, the Commissioner for the Polígono Sur and the City Council of Seville to try to alleviate the problem of supply cuts, as well as to seek joint solutions giving priority to the most critical cases. 

 

Safety of the installations and personal safety

Illegal hook-ups are made using unsuitable materials and without complying with any type of safety standards. Homes with illegal connections do not have the basic protection systems that every home should have. In areas where massive illegal connections are recorded, the only protection that would work is that provided by Endesa's networks, but these are also boycotted so safety for both people and the environment is eliminated. 

It is very important to stress that electrical fraud entails very serious safety problems, both for the people who handle the installations and for those who fortuitously may have access to them. They may suffer electrocutions and the installations themselves may overheat.

To this we should add the safety of Endesa's operators who cannot freely go about their ordinary work, as they receive threats and coercion from those who try to prevent illegal connections from being disconnected. This means that repairs to the distribution network need to be made in the presence of offices from the National and/or Local Police. Endesa's technicians also have to hide their faces, as expressly instructed by the authorities, so they cannot be recognised during the joint actions to disconnect fraudulent supplies.

 

About Endesa 

Endesa is a leading electricity company in Spain and the second largest in Portugal. The company is also the second largest gas operator in the Spanish market. Endesa operates an end-to-end electricity generation, distribution and marketing business. Through  Endesa X, it also offers value-added services aimed at the electrification of energy usage in homes, companies, industries and Public Administrations. It is also the leading operator of charging stations in Spain through Endesa X Way, a business line dedicated entirely to electric mobility. Endesa is firmly committed to the United Nations SDGs and strongly supports the development of renewable energies through Enel Green Power España, the digitalisation of grids through e-distribución, and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). The Endesa Foundation is also active in CSR. Our workforce numbers about 9,260 employees. Endesa is a division of Enel, the largest electricity group in Europe. 

 

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