Joburg wants 24 months to end load shedding

 ·6 Apr 2023

The new member of the mayoral committee for finance in the City of Joburg, Sello Morero, aims to do away with load shedding over the next 24 months through private-public partnerships.

Morero also said that he wants to build a financially resilient city by achieving a 90% revenue collection threshold for rates and services.

The MMC pleaded with ratepayers to assist the city in banishing load shedding by being savvier when it comes to energy consumption.

The City of Joburg has had its sights on lowering the severity and frequency of rolling blackouts for quite some time now.

With little reprieve from load shedding on the horizon, especially going into winter, it has become necessary for major metros to take energy supply into their own hands for the lights to stay on and keep the economy churning.

At the start of the year, the city announced an R400 million plan to mitigate load shedding by three stages over the short to medium term.

Former mayor, Mpho Phalatse, said that the city, as the economic hub of South Africa, was heavily affected due to a lack of stable electricity.

As a result, the local government launched an energy strategy to mitigate load shedding with broader plans looking to secure short and long-term procurement of power from independent power producers (IPP).

The city ultimately plans to procure an additional 500MW of electricity, with the long-term aim of offsetting five stages of load shedding in Joburg.

Morero’s emphasis on revenue collection from rates and services comes as ratepayers in the city face an onslaught of rate increases, with the hike in electricity marking one of the highest.

As of 1 July, Joburg citizens face an 18.64% average electricity increase for the 2023/24 financial year.

On 5 April, Eskom announced that it plans to suspend load shedding during a portion of the Easter long weekend while shifting down to Stage 3 until 10 April.

Despite this offering, some short-term relief for South Africans, knowing the embattled power utility’s history – it is unlikely to last.

Alan Winde, the premier of the Western Cape, a province that has been at the forefront of independent power production, said that the outlook for load shedding in the coming months continues to look bleak with delayed maintenance at Eskom’s sole nuclear power station.

In early March, Clyde Mallinson, the director of Virtual Energy and Power, said that Eskom needs to lift its coal fleet capacity factor to at least 50% for higher stages, such as stage 6, to be avoided.

He said that Eskom’s coal fleet was only able to operate at 40% coal fleet capacity during February, a period when demand for electricity is far lower than the likes of June or other winter months.

Read: South Africa looks to dams and rivers to stop load shedding

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