Stage 6 rolling blackouts: Joburg ‘actively working on long-term solutions’

The City of Johannesburg says it recently held its first Energy Indaba to attract investment in alternative energy solutions and to start the process of bringing on board independent power producers (IPPs) to help offset rolling blackouts, which reached stage 6 on Tuesday (28 June).

“We are clearly dealing with an emergency,” the CoJ said.

This follows an announcement from the City of Cape Town that it was building its own energy supply to mitigate the escalating levels of load shedding being implemented by Eskom.

The city said that it can protect Cape Town residents against two stages of load shedding through its interventions.

Eskom said stage 6 load shedding would be implemented from 16h00 to 22h00 on Tuesday due to “unlawful industrial action” by some of its personnel at its power stations.

The power utility said the stages of load shedding for Tuesday and Wednesday will be as follows:

Tuesday (28 June)

  • Stage 6 load shedding from 16h00 to 22h00
  • Stage 4 load shedding from 22h00 to 00h00

Wednesday (29 June)

  • Stage 2 load shedding from 00h00 to 05h00
  • Stage 4 load shedding from 05h00 to 16h00
  • Stage 6 load shedding from 16h00 to 22h00

“This is due to the unlawful and unprotected labour action, which has caused widespread disruption to Eskom’s power plants. This has compelled Eskom to continue taking precautionary measures to conserve generation capacity and safeguard plants from damage.

“Eskom continues to closely monitor the system, adjust and communicate any changes as may be necessary. We appeal to all South Africans to help limit the impact of the shortages by continuing to reduce the usage of electricity and to switch off all non-essential items,” it said.

Eskom said at least three generation units, which were part of a cohort of 10 which broke down overnight, have been brought back online.

“This, however, is still insufficient to stave off the implementation of Stage six load shedding for this evening and tomorrow evening. We currently have 3,218MW [of power] on planned maintenance, while another 17,621MW of capacity is unavailable due to breakdowns.

City Power

Joburg power utility City Power warned that stage 4 load shedding put too much strain on its resources, leading to prolonged breakdowns and outages.

In a notice published on social media, the utility said that some of its substations have been unable to return during restorations, leaving customers without power for a prolonged period of time.

MMC for Environment and Infrastructure Services, Michael Sun, on Tuesday led a delegation from City Power to visit the City of Cape Town Municipality on a benchmarking programme to learn more about its process of procuring IPPs and its progress made on finding alternative and long-term solutions to the energy crisis, which in part means reducing Joburg’s dependency on Eskom.

MMC Sun, acting CEO of City Power, Tshifularo Mashava, and director of energy at City Power, Meyrick Ramatlo, visited the City of Cape Town to meet with the executive mayor, Geordin Hill-Lewis, and MMC for energy in the City of Cape Town, Beverly van Rheenen, to embark on-site visits to the Steenbras pumped-storage power station and Bloemhof Network Control Centre.

“The benchmarking tour is about learning and joining hands with the City of Cape Town in partnering to advance energy independence. As the City of Joburg, we are not trying to re-invent the wheel, but rather take already established and functioning processes to ensure that our residents have reliable, sustainable, and affordable access to electricity,” a statement from the city read.

Further meetings were held with the Western Cape Provincial Government Premier, Alan Winde, and the Green Economy Unit at the Department of Trade and Economic Development, to understand and learn about their Municipal Energy Resilience Programme (MER).

“There are no quick solutions, but on 1 July 2022, the rollout of a R1.6 billion capital investment, for the 2022/23 financial year, in City Power’s aged infrastructure will kick in so that we are able to upgrade and stabilise the city’s power network to avert the possibility of further breakdowns caused by Eskom’s rolling blackouts.

“The frustration and anger of residents is heard, but we appeal with residents for a level of patience as we attend to a multitude of breakages and outages,” said the city.

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Stage 6 rolling blackouts: Joburg ‘actively working on long-term solutions’