File photo: Dean Hutton/Bloomberg.
File photo: Dean Hutton/Bloomberg.

Outages ‘may put infrastructure at risk’

By Henri Du Plessis Time of article published Apr 16, 2015

Share this article:

Cape Town - Consistent Stage 3 load shedding over an extended period may damage Cape Town’s electrical infrastructure, councillor Ernest Sonnenberg has warned.

The mayoral committee member for utility services said the increased frequency of switching the electricity on and off – as a result of load shedding – affected the maintenance cycles of the switch gear and consequently the city’s ability to perform maintenance.

“The more load shedding we have to effect, the less likely the infrastructure will be able to tolerate it. We therefore could see some prolonged power outages in the future, should load shedding continue at this pace,” Sonnenberg said in response to an enquiry yesterday.

Sonnenberg reaffirmed that load shedding was declared by Eskom as a last resort to prevent a countrywide collapse of the power system.

“Eskom’s national control centre instructs municipal electricity control centres countrywide when to implement load shedding and at what stage.

“This situation is therefore completely beyond the city’s control.

“We are as much in the dark as our residents as to when and for how long load shedding will be called for by Eskom.”

Load shedding was implemented in stages depending on the extent of the shortage of generation capacity to meet the country’s electricity demand.

Stage 1 is the least serious, while Stage 3b is the most serious.

Meanwhile, the traffic department was happy to report that load shedding had not had a major influence on traffic yesterday.

Cape Town Traffic Services spokeswoman Inspector Maxine Jordaan said only two intersections were affected by load shedding during yesterday morning’s peak period.

“The only two intersections affected by load shedding in the Cape Town CBD during the morning peak as per our traffic signals section were Christiaan Barnard/Hertzog Boulevard and Jack Craig/Christiaan Barnard.

“Points men were arranged for the Christiaan Barnard/Hertzog Boulevard intersection as it is a very busy location.

“All accidents that we are aware of for this morning were not related to any defective traffic lights. There were also no reports of unusually heavy congestion or gridlocked traffic during this morning’s peak.”

On Tuesday, Eskom said the country’s electricity supply system remained “very constrained and vulnerable” owing to a shortage of generation capacity.

Several power generators at the country’s power stations were out of service because of planned shutdowns and unplanned breakdowns.

“Eskom would like to assure customers that load shedding is implemented as a necessary measure to protect the power system,” the utility said.

“Any additional changes on the already vulnerable and constrained power system could lead to a change in the stage of load shedding at short notice.

“We will communicate if there is a need to change stages.”

Stage 3 load shedding allows Eskom to drop as much as 4 000 megawatts of demand from the grid by shutting down supply.

Yesterday afternoon, Eskom implemented Stage 3 load shedding for the second consecutive day this week.

Cape Argus

Share this article: