Capetonians were plunged into darkness as an unscheduled round of load shedding for the day. Picture: Armand Hough/African News Agency(ANA)
Cape Town -  The City of Cape Town said that it will again do its best to help City-supplied customers during Eskom’s load shedding, which has resumed and is expected to continue for the rest of the week in Cape Town and across the country. 

The City is currently able to add additional generation capacity to the electricity grid which means that City-supplied customers are affected by Stage 1 load-shedding and not Stage 2. 

The City said that it is able to assist this week to soften the impact from Eskom’s load-shedding on City-supplied customers due to spare generation capacity from the Steenbras Hydro-electric Power Scheme.

Planned maintenance of the plant, however, starts from next week and is expected to continue until May 2020.

"The necessary maintenance was planned for this period as electricity usage is lower at this time of the year, which would ideally have had a minimal impact on City-supplied customers. But, unfortunately should load-shedding continue in the weeks and months ahead, the City will be unable to assist its customers with additional generation capacity," said mayco Member for Energy and Climate Change, Phindile Maxiti.

All residents of Cape Town are encouraged to plan ahead and to follow a few simple tips to ensure that they stay connected, healthy and safe.

City fighting to be allowed to buy electricity from independent producers

"The City has taken the Minister of Energy and the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (Nersa) to Court to allow it, and municipalities across South Africa, to buy energy from Independent Power Producers in light of Eskom’s inability to provide for a reliable and cleaner energy supply to the residents and businesses of Cape Town. The matter is expected to be heard in the first half of next year," said Maxiti .

"Metros simply must be the energy champions of their residents and of their commercial sector players. It is a right which is entrenched in the Constitution and the City intends on providing its customers with the option of consistent, and cleaner energy supply while combating both rising electricity costs and the impact of climate change."

The City maintains that it is vital for the national government to open up the electricity generation environment if cities are to be able to reduce carbon emissions and if the security of power supply is to be achieved.

Nuisance tripping

When power is restored after load-shedding, nuisance tripping sometimes occurs.

This is when the power is restored to an area and fails to come back on in some parts. The power outage often goes unreported because residents assume that it is due to load-shedding. If customers experience an outage at an unscheduled time, or the electricity supply remains off for longer than the period specified in the schedule, please SMS the details to the City’s Technical Operations Centre on 31220.

Residents are encouraged to reduce the risk and occurrence of nuisance tripping by switching off appliances, including geysers, air conditioners and pool pumps prior to load-shedding and leaving one light on to indicate the return of the supply.

The City added that their teams always try their best to respond as soon as possible and within available capacity when a call is logged that an outage is carrying on for longer than the specific timeframe that has been indicated by Eskom for load-shedding. Service requests usually increase during load-shedding. This can cause operational delays.

As load shedding announcements by Eskom are typically made with very short notice, residents are encouraged  to follow the City on Facebook and Twitter for Eskom load shedding alerts. 

City-supplied customers will be directed to the City’s website www.capetown.gov.za/loadshedding for updates and for accessing the load-shedding schedule.

Cape Argus