Johannesburg’s power utility, City Power, says it will deploy all available personnel to take on issues around stage 6 load shedding as instances of cable theft and wider outages are likely to increase.
In light of recent breakdowns and planned maintenance at the failed national power utility Eskom, scheduled blackouts are likely to reach up to 12 hours a day, the city said.
It added that this is primarily due to energy capacity drops from lagging repairs at the national power utility’s fleet of failing power stations. This does not bode well for Johannesburg, the city noted.
“It is unfortunate that state blackouts translate into lengthy outages as pressures on our infrastructure increase exponentially. Johannesburg’s ageing network is simply not designed to be powered up and down and to withstand the impacts of rush current several times a day without running the risk of severe technical faults,” said Michael Sun, a member of the mayoral Environment & Infrastructure Service in the economic hub.
“Controlled blackouts also provide a handy schedule from which cable thieves are able to operate without running the risk of high-voltage electrocution.”
The city plans to move away from the “socioeconomic poison of load shedding”, with the first phase of its Independent Power Producer Program being launched recently, with early 2023 marking the way forward.
It has also published its Requests for Proposal (RFP), signalling a further shift away from reliance on Eskom. Mayor Mpho Phalatse said that it would secure reliable and affordable energy.
“A city whose contribution to the national economy is almost 16%, while making up 40% of Gauteng’s economy, cannot be left without energy for hours on end,” Phalatse said.
According to the City of Joburg, City Power has ensured that all available personnel are on the ground to ensure the speedy resolution of outages and faults.
The City has also called on people in the area to pull together and “play our part by using electricity sparingly.”
“Do not overload the system and run the risk of surges in your home and business when your power comes back by immediately activating all your appliances,” said Sun.
Michael Sun from City of Joburg added that people who live in Johannesburg must report suspicious activity to City Power or the police.
If you see something suspicious in your area, report it immediately to City Power or the police,” Sun said.
On 7 December, Eskom announced that it would implement stage 6 load shedding until 9 December and de-escalating it to stage 5 over the weekend.
The utility said that since the early parts of the week, two generating units at Rootvlei Power Station occurred, as well as a unit each at Arnot, Duvha, Kendal, Kriel and Tuttuka Power Stations broke down.
It added that two units at Arnot, each at Camden, Kendal and Kriel power stations, have been delayed in returning to service.