Warning over Joburg power cuts

 ·17 Jun 2024

Johannesburg’s City Power has implemented load reduction in parts of the city, which could severely impact local businesses.

City Power has introduced load reduction in areas with high usage levels that threaten to overload the system.

Although this will primarily impact residencies, these outages could also significantly disrupt local businesses.

According to Dr Andrew Dickson, Engineering Executive at CBI-electric: low voltage, production stops when the power goes off, reducing output and hurting profitability.

“However, for a number of companies operating in Johannesburg’s industrial sector, the switch-off of machinery could render them unable to operate for extended periods as it can take equipment anywhere from a few hours to more than 24 hours to return to operation,” said Dickson.

“With outages now occurring multiple times a day in parts of Johannesburg, this will bring business to a standstill and could even force several companies to close.”

“Moreover, this could have significant knock-on effects, especially as the city’s businesses enable it to contribute around 14.9% to the national Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and 40% to the Gauteng province while also employing approximately 2.13 million people.”

His solution

If companies and residences voluntarily reduce their electricity consumption, he said that it may be possible to alleviate strain on the grid, thereby minimising disruptions and allowing businesses to operate.

However, businesses and households must introduce plans to curb their electricity usage for this to work.

“The first step should be measuring how much power is being consumed as well as when, where and why. This information can then be used to build a plan that takes energy demand patterns into account.”

“For example, this could help companies change when they use the most power by restructuring their operations, determining which processes should happen when in order to minimise peaks and dips in daily power usage and adjusting how shift structures work.”

“Using timers or load controllers to schedule when loads turn on or off could also help to reduce electricity consumption.” This could prevent systems like air conditioners and hydro boils from running unnecessarily after business hours or limit how long household geysers are on.

Load controllers, combined with room occupancy sensors, can switch off electrical equipment in unoccupied offices or meeting rooms so that power is consumed when necessary.

“Additional electricity saving measures could include installing natural lighting options like light pipes instead of electric lighting and putting in draught doors to reduce heating and cooling costs.”

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