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The National Electrical Test Facility (NETFA) is a third party, independent testing facility within the South African Bureau of Standards (SABS) Electro technical Cluster. This facility consists of three specialised groups of laboratories: Short Circuit, High Voltage, and Materials and Installations.

NETFA is situated in Olifantsfontein (Johannesburg), next to the ESKOM Apollo Converter Station, and has been in operation for more than 30 years.

The original High Voltage laboratory facility was built in 1972. All the NETFA laboratories are accredited to SANS 17025:2005 (ISO/IEC 17025:2005) by SANAS. NETFA is also a member of ILAC Multilateral Arrangement and a Participating Member of the Short-Circuit Testing Liaison (STL) Group.

Interesting facts

  • NETFA has the only generator-driven High Power Test station in the Southern Hemisphere.
  • The first 765 kV cross-rope transmission line tower was tested at NETFA.
  • The High Voltage Laboratory is situated at an altitude of 1 540 m, one of only a few in the world to be located above 1500 m.

Short Circuit Laboratory

The Short Circuit Laboratory is capable of testing short circuit and switching performance of a wide range of medium voltage power control and electrical distribution equipment. Among other features, the laboratory is equipped with two short circuit generators, with low impedances that can produce very high currents for short durations, at the High Power Plant.

The laboratory has the following test capabilities:

  • Short circuit tests up to 12 kV/31,5 kA/1sec. at the High Power Plant.
  • Short circuit tests up to 100 kA at 500 V at the High Current Plant.
  • Determination of temperature rise up to 10 kA at the Temperature Rise Plant.

The Short Circuit Laboratory.jpg 

The Short Circuit Laboratory​

High Voltage Laboratory

The High Voltage Laboratory is capable of performing a wide range of tests on electrical distribution, substation and transmission equipment. It is also used as a research facility, mainly for ESKOM’s new development projects. This Laboratory is situated at an altitude of 1 540 m, and offers the opportunity of testing at high altitude.

This laboratory is equipped with the following major features and capabilities:

  • A fully screened indoor test facility with a height of 30 m and floor area of 30 m x 50 m.
  • Switching and lightning impulse voltages of up to 2.5 MV and 3.2 MV respectively and discharge free a.c. voltages of up to 650 kV can be generated in the indoor facility.
  • This indoor facility is particularly suitable for partial discharge measurements down to levels as low as 1 pC at 650 kV
  • An outdoor extra high voltage (EHV) test facility capable of producing switching and lightning impulse voltages of up to 3.2 MV and 4.0 MV respectively and discharge free a.c. voltages of up to 1.3 MV.
  • Phase to phase impulse withstand can also be conducted in this facility.

High voltage lab.jpg 

The High Voltage Laboratory. 

Materials and Installations Laboratory

The Materials and Installations Laboratory is capable of testing various types of electrical materials and accessories such as cables, conductors, phasing sticks, joints and terminations, portable earthing gear, plugs, switches, connectors, adaptors, etc. A full spectrum of tests can be conducted in this laboratory to ensure quality, safety and performance in accordance with international and national specifications.

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Testing at the Materials and Installations laboratory.

Distribution Technology​​

SABS NETFA’s Distribution Technology business unit does not own a physical laboratory but performs a number of other functions required by the electro-technical industry.

These services include:

  • Coordination of multiple laboratory testing at SABS NETFA.
  • Review and development of standards, specifications and test programmes.
  • Fault investigation, failure cause analysis and solutions.
  • Quality inspections and assessment of manufacturer’s plant.
  • Training and interpretation of specifications, standards and codes.

Contact us​

Central telephone number: 011 238 2300 or 012 428 7911

Physical Address:
43rd Street

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Among our unique laboratories is the National Electrical Test Facility (NETFA), boasting several firsts.


Certificates of Compliance

The SABS and ICASA protect consumers by ensuring electronic equipment entering SA meets required quality-performance standards.