The eThekwini Metropolitan Municipality will be moving back to full load shedding from Thursday, 25 May 2023, after being on a separate schedule to the rest of the country for an extended period of time.
The metro has been on a significantly reduced load shedding schedule since floods ravaged the region in April 2022 and damaged the city’s electricity network. The metro was only subject to load shedding past stage 4, and many regions were exempt.
The city has published the new schedule, which will be effective from Thursday. Under the new schedules, the metro will be subject to load shedding from stage 1 like the rest of the country, among other changes.
Some of the changes include:
- Region and block numbers have changed;
- Load shedding will be implemented from stage 1 (stage 4 previously);
- Blocks have been given two designations, A and B, so now blocks will be numbered 1A, 1B, 2A, 2B etc, all the way up to 16B. These affect only residential and commercial businesses. Blocks 17 and above are related to the industrial sector;
- Up to stage 6 load shedding, only blocks 1A to 16B will be affected. If the country moves to stage 7 or higher, then blocks 17 and above will be affected;
- Some substations have been removed from load shedding completely, where they have experienced extensive damage, and load shedding is not possible. Some areas will not experience load shedding for three years.;
- The city has around 120 substations; not all were badly affected by the disasters. Substations and areas that have been experiencing load shedding since August 2022 will continue to experience load shedding at full schedules.
The full list of areas affected, their new block designations and the schedules for load shedding can be found below:
To make way for the revised load shedding, the city has been exempted from rolling outages on Wednesday (24 May).
“To enable our teams to prepare the system for the new schedule, which starts tomorrow, load-shedding has been suspended in eThekwini for today only. This relief was agreed to by the System Operator to allow the city to re-configure its automated load shedding system for the new schedule to become effective on 25 May 2023.”
“Residents are urged to switch off all high-load appliances like geysers, stoves, heaters, air-conditioners and pool pumps during power outages and stagger switching them on once power returns. This is especially critical in those suburbs that suffer from frequent overload trips on return of power after load-shedding. Everyone is urged to reduce power consumption,” it said.
While the city’s infrastructure is not yet repaired to pre-flood levels, the city said that it has been forced to return to full load shedding given the country’s need to reduce the load to protect the national grid.
“It has therefore become unavoidable for eThekwini to revert to normal load shedding stages as experienced by the rest of the country,” the municipality said.
The municipality noted that some areas continue to battle with the damage from the floods, and as a result, some substations cannot be switched off as that would pose a significant risk to residents and infrastructure.
The city said it is finalising the amended load shedding schedule, which will be shared with the public as soon as it is ready.
“Suburban block allocations have been amended to accommodate required changes. Customers are urged to check their suburbs against their new block numbers when the schedule is published.
“Areas with a large industrial component have been allocated to Blocks 17 to 20 and will be shut off from Stage 7 upwards for a duration of four hours at a time. This is expected to limit the impact of load shedding on production,” the municipality said.
Customers have been urged to minimise their electricity usage and also switch off high-load appliances during power outages to prevent power surges when the power is restored.
“This will prevent extended outages.”