Switch off before load shedding to ease pressure on power grid, says City

Eskom’s move to Stages 5 and 6 load-shedding is highlighting the risks faced as South Africa moves into the colder, winter months when demand increases, says the City. Picture: Henk Kruger/African News Agency (ANA)

The City is urging its electricity customers to cut their usage and switch off appliances before load-shedding to ease pressure on Eskom’s power supply as it comes under growing strain during the colder months.

“We are already seeing the impact of the colder and shorter days with Eskom not being able to meet the demand,” said mayoral committee member for energy Beverley van Reenen.

The City planned to provide load-shedding protection of up to two stages during the day until 10pm, where possible, she said.

The City had noted new trends associated with the colder temperatures, when power usage was usually higher, she said.

“For instance, if electrical appliances aren’t switched off prior to load-shedding, it could take longer to restore power after load-shedding. This is as the ‘come back’ load is much too high to restore at once. If everyone’s electrical appliances and lights have been left on prior to load shedding, it causes surges and further outages when everything comes back on at the same time. We ask customers to please switch off prior to load shedding.”

Phoenix Ratepayers’ Community Forum chairwoman Linda Mqikela said that while she understood the logic behind turning off appliances before load shedding, it was not feasible for many, like herself, who were not at home during the day. “It’s almost impossible to practise this,” she said.

She said Phoenix had already seen an increase in crime during the night-time load shedding and she feared the power cuts would be much worse during winter when it got darker earlier in the day.

“What affects us most is the fact that electricity is still expensive let alone that there are hours that we are not using the electricity due to the power cuts, but we are still paying so much.This is really a crisis for us all. We are indeed looking forward to any resolutions that the City is busy trying to implement such including the guidance to switch on and off. However, will it help?”

Tamarin Pringle, of Summer Greens, meanwhile expressed frustration with the ongoing power cuts, saying, “I think the people in charge of this load shedding crisis need to get their acts together. What we as citizens of this country want to know is when will of this be sorted?”

Another Summer Greens residents, Kayla August, questioned why the government was still battling to deal with load shedding.

“How long have we had load shedding in this country? Over 10 years, right? So why hasn’t this been the number one priority? I’ve seen all these political parties and other government institutions saying load shedding is their number one priority. However, this has been a problem for the longest time. They need to stop playing with us and sort this out.“

Visit www.capetown.gov.za or www.savingelectricity.org.za for more information.