The City of Johannesburg will exclude key customers, essential services and some businesses from load shedding – from June 2023.
Mayoral committee councillor Jack Sekwaila said this is to protect livelihoods, attract investments and boost the economy within the city.
These changes come as City Power, the utility that wheels electricity throughout Joburg, works towards implementing a new load shedding schedule which would see the 4-hour schedule from Stage 4 be reduced to 2 hours up until Stage 8.
“The City has the responsibility to attract investments, retain those already operating within Joburg, and secure jobs for our residents.”
“This hasn’t been possible with the relentless load shedding that has heavily impacted the economic activity within the City, leading to some businesses closing down while others emigrated to other provinces where reliable electricity supply is guaranteed,” said Sekwaila
Load shedding has added to pandemic woes and forced small businesses to close.
Currently, many of the most significant power users and critical business customers are excluded from load shedding through load curtailment agreements; however, come June, other businesses, especially those in industrial areas, will be gradually excluded.
The gradual reduction will be achieved through the reconfiguration of the network and other processes, said the councillor.
Other essential services will also be added to the load shedding exemption. “The City is already exempting most health and water services following the request by the government last year.”
Sekwaila said that this may not be done right away due to the network’s embedded nature.
“To achieve standardisation, City Power identified 16 blocks that can shed the required load per block. It is important to mention that the substations serving the Reuven, Hursthill, Alexandra and Inner City areas are remotely controlled by the City Power Control Room during load shedding,” said the CEO of City Powerm Tshifularo Mashava.
“The substations in all other areas are still manually operated, and measures are underway, with budgets committed to ensuring that those substations in other SDC are operated remotely,” said Ms Mashava.
“The new schedule will ensure that our customers no longer endure many hours of load shedding, with others shed for four hours in one go. This schedule will reduce the frequency of customers being shed, and blocks will not get shed at the same time for the same stage in consecutive days.”
“In simple terms, our customers will be on for longer than it is now, especially in lower stages,” Mashava said.
According to City Power, it is finalising plans and consultations with Eskom to ensure a smooth transition and the full implementation of the new load shedding schedule by early to mid-June, which will see City Power assume complete responsibility for operating all of its substations during load shedding.
The city said the design of the new load shedding schedule achieves the following:
- Eliminates the 4-hour duration in all stages and maintains 2 hours (plus 30 minutes) up to stage 8.
- In a 4 or 5-day Stage 1 or 2 load shedding, a customer may be shed only once per day.
- After a block is restored, there is a 2-hour reprieve before the next scheduled time.
- A block is scheduled in a zig-zag fashion alternating between lower and higher stages in the 24-hour period. This reduces the frequency in comparison to the current load shedding schedule.
- The maximum duration the block can be switched off in 24 hours is 12 hours or six times in higher stages like Stage 8.
- Given that it is 16 blocks, 2 hours per time slot in 24 hours and 31 days, the algorithm is designed like a square to ensure fairness to all blocks. This explains a 50% chance of enjoying less frequent power cuts or, worst case depending on the day.