Load-shedding has become a constant source of disruption for neighborhoods, with new trends emerging as a result of high stages of load-shedding and increased demand during winter.
Pressure on Energy Teams
Councillor Beverley van Reenen, the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Energy, notes the pressure on energy teams who are responsible for load-shedding-related tasks in addition to routine maintenance and repairs.
Key Points to Consider
To understand the impacts of load-shedding and the new trends observed, the following key points are worth considering:
1. Shorter-than-Scheduled Load-Shedding
Incessant Eskom load-shedding, especially at Stage 6, leads to “over-shedding,” causing an abrupt transition to lower stages that cannot be communicated in time. The City has no control over this phenomenon.
2. Overloading of the System
When power resumes after load-shedding, all electrical equipment activates simultaneously, overloading the system and delaying the restoration of power in certain areas.
3. Protecting the Grid
The City now restores power in phases to prevent extensive area outages, optimizing the switching window.
4. Frequent Load-Shedding Changes
Despite the challenges, the City endeavors to provide information as promptly as possible via social media and its website.
5. City Protection Stretched
The City aims to offer up to two stages of load-shedding protection, but this becomes more difficult as load-shedding stages increase.
6. Service Request Delays and Spikes
Teams must wait for load-shedding to end before completing work, leading to backlogs.
7. Storm-Related Damage
Storms exacerbate load-shedding-related outages, putting more strain on energy teams.
8. Increased Damage to Household Electrical Appliances
Power surges when power resumes can damage household electrical appliances. Consumers are recommended to hire registered electrical contractors to install surge protection devices.
9. Reduced Planned Maintenance
Elevated load-shedding levels lead to the suspension of planned maintenance and an accumulation of backlogs, impacting the distribution network beyond load-shedding.
10. Vandalism and Theft Increase
Load-shedding offers opportunities for criminals to target electricity infrastructure. The City offers a R5,000 reward for information leading to an arrest.
11. Increased Violence Against City Teams
Assaults and robberies of teams on the ground often disrupt repair work.
Mitigating the Effects of Load-Shedding
To cope with the effects of load-shedding, the City advises residents to maintain communication and connectivity, create family and work plans for emergency situations, keep cash and fuel on hand, safely store medications and perishable items, secure properties and businesses, support local Neighborhood Watch programs, monitor the impact of load-shedding on travel and commuting, and treat intersections with non-functioning traffic lights as four-way stops.
Measures Implemented by the City
The City is also working on implementing various measures as part of its load-shedding protection plan. The most significant power tender, a 500 MW dispatchable energy tender, was issued on April 6, 2023. Contracts for Phase 1 of the 200 MW renewable energy from IPPs tender are on track for final awarding in 2023. Furthermore, the contract awarding process for the Power Heroes Programme tender is underway, and the Cash for Power feed-in tariff has increased by 10.15% for 2023/24, with a 25c per kWh incentive.
While load-shedding poses numerous challenges, it is essential for residents and authorities to work together to mitigate its effects and adapt to emerging trends. By staying informed, prepared, and vigilant, communities can better cope with the impacts of load-shedding and contribute to a more resilient energy future.