Durban - eThekwini Municipality is expected to face load shedding from next month. The municipality has been “exempt” from the current rolling blackouts following back-to-back floods in April and May.
Speaking to eNCA on Monday, head of electricity in the city Maxwell Mthembu explained that, technically, the municipality was not exempted from load shedding.
He said due to the significant damage to infrastructure, the city wrote a letter to Eskom and a decision was taken to leave eThekwini out of load shedding. However, this is expected to change by July 15.
“We lost between 700 to 800 megawatts of power at the time and we are still trying to recover from this. As of today, we still don’t have more than 200MW of power. If you look at the megawatts, it is the equivalent of what load shedding is today. This means that in eThekwini, since the April floods, we have faced severe load shedding compared to any other part in the country. We are not exempted. With National Control and Eskom, we agreed that eThekwini will not be a part of load shedding for now,” Mthembu said.
He said talks were under way to put new load shedding in place without causing further damage to infrastructure in eThekwini.
“We are hoping that this will be done by July 15 and we are aiming that by August 1 we will participate with load shedding. We want to make sure that as much as the city is struggling, we want to participate in helping the national grid," Mthembu said.
He said they will continue to monitor and assess the situation and will immediately alert Eskom should the city’s infrastructure be under pressure.
Mthembu said there will be monthly meetings to manage the process.
In terms of eThekwini's damage, Mthembu said it will take three years to fix damaged sub-stations.
He explained that some sub-stations were extremely compromised and it will take three years to repair or in some cases, build from scratch.
“The good news is that we have been given a budget and we are procuring for the building of these sub-stations,” he added.
He said some areas will be left out of the updated load-shedding schedules due the the extensive damage to their sub-stations.
Mthembu said once the new schedule has been revised, the city will share it with the public.
“People must just wait for us. We will share the updated schedules around the 15th or so. Hopefully we will have good news,” Mthembu said.
Meanwhile, Eskom has implemented stage 6 load shedding from Monday with varying stages of load shedding for the rest of the week.
“As the generation capacity shortages persist over the next few weeks, load shedding will continue to be implemented at various stages. Eskom cautions the public that it will still take a few weeks for the power generation system to fully recover to pre-strike levels.
“Depending on several possibilities – including the workforce fully returning to work to conduct much-needed repairs to equipment – it is anticipated that load shedding will gradually be lowered to stage 2 by the weekend,” Eskom said.
Latest load-shedding schedule:
On Monday – Stage 4 load shedding implemented from 5am until 4pm. From 4pm until 10pm stage 6 load shedding will be implemented, before it is lowered to stage 4 until midnight.
On Tuesday – Stage 2 load shedding will be implemented from midnight until 5am, before increasing to stage 4 at 5am until 4pm. Stage 5 load shedding will be implemented at 4pm to 10pm. Load shedding will then be lowered to stage 4 until midnight.