File picture: Ian Landsberg/African News Agency (ANA)

Johannesburg - Loadshedding has cost Johannesburg’s electricity utility City Power almost R60 million in the past four months.

City Power announced on Thursday the financial impact experienced between October 16 last year and January 5, 2020 due to the intermittent loadshedding.

According to City Power, it lost R43.6m in potential profit, another R14m due to equipment failure and R1.2m it paid in overtime.

"City Power’s losses were felt mostly in three potential areas, which are staff overtime, as we are forced to avail technicians and operators after normal working hours to ensure restorations are done after load shedding,” the utility said in a statement.

Due to its aging infrastructure City Power has seen an increase in areas taking long to restore due to a surge of currents and explosions.
City Power receives its electricity supply from Eskom and is obliged to help the national utility to save a certain amount of electricity in order to avoid a total shutdown of the system.

It has warned that another effect of load shedding could be accelerating the ageing of its infrastructure as its system was never meant to be switched on and off at quick intervals and as a result took a serious knock during loadshedding.

The impact was still felt even long after loadshedding was temporarily suspended, according to City Power.
City Power also suffered losses as its equipment either failed during restorations, transformers or mini-substations exploded during insurgents of current.

The utility lost the potential profit it would have made if it was selling electricity to its customers during load shedding.

"These loses do not include billions of rands lost by business's lack of activity across the City of Johannesburg during loadshedding,” City Power said.

Its chief executive Lerato Setshedi said the utility was considering load limiting through the smart meters, ripple relays and increasing generating capacity at the Kelvin power station to cushion customers against the impact of load shedding and plan accordingly to maximise on other opportunities.

"Plans are already underway to engage Eskom in this regard on some of these alternatives available for us," said Setshedi.

Political Bureau