Picture: EPA
Picture: EPA

City Power battling to cope as Joburg’s electricity demand skyrocket

By Jonisayi Maromo Time of article published Jun 12, 2020

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PRETORIA – City of Johannesburg’s power utility City Power on Friday said it has noted an increase in electricity usage, which has led to numerous power outages across the city, and appealed to residents to minimise electricity consumption. 

“City Power would like to appeal to the residents of the City of Johannesburg to use power sparingly as the cold front hits the city this weekend. We have already seen an increase in the number of outages since Friday, as people try to warm themselves up, and we anticipate that these will increase into the weekend,” said City Power spokesperson Isaac Mangena. 

“By 11am on Friday our technicians were already dealing with close to 300 unplanned outage calls, compared to only 150 at the same time the previous day.” 

Mangena said with temperatures expected to go as low as minus two degrees this weekend, City Power expected the demand for electricity to skyrocket. 

“This will also see an increase in unplanned outages caused by overloading of our network due to among others, illegal connections and switching on of unnecessary appliances. We have already seen several of our pole-mounted transformers and mini-substations blowing up in hotspot areas like Alexandra, Rabie Ridge, Roodepoort, and Lenasia due to illegal connections,” he said. 

“While we have increased our capacity at the substations and resources in areas prone to unplanned outages as part of our winter strategy, City Power cannot do this all alone. We urge our customers to adjust their behaviour and use electricity sparingly to avoid overloading and increase in unplanned outages.” 

City Power urged consumers to switch off any non-essential appliances like swimming pool pumps, geysers, and multiple heaters and stoves. 

“Those who are not at work or working from home should consider cooking early to enable those at work to have a chance to cook when they knock off during peak hours of between 16h00 and 22h00,” said Mangena. 

“This will ensure that we do not impose load rotation which is really the last resort to protect our infrastructure from blowing up. Our system is under a tremendous pressure due to the cold front.”

Johannesburg residents are also urged to report illegal connections which exacerbate the problem of infrastructure failure and unplanned outages. 

But with our resources stretched a little due to the increase in outages, response time may take a bit longer than normal. We apologise for that.” 

Mangena emphasised that City Power was not loadshedding.

African News Agency 

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