Cape Town resident trying to keep load shedding at bay may have to reconsider the option of using a generator. Photo: Simphiwe Mbokazi

Cape Town - Residents trying to keep load shedding at bay may have to reconsider the option of using a generator as permission from the City of Cape Town may be obligatory for the operation of a domestic generator.

In a statement released on Wednesday, the city said people who have their generators connected or synchronised to the city’s electrical network needed to get permission from the city’s electricity services department.

Should the generator be operated in isolation from the city’s network, permission would not be required, but the city recommended that the installation be carried out by a qualified professional.

“This is to prevent possible damage to appliances if it is not properly installed,” the statement said.

Mayco member for utility services Ernest Sonnenberg said connecting generators to the city’s network would benefit the customer.

“This option allows uninterrupted transfer of the customer’s load from the distribution network to the back-up generator supply, and vice versa, to large consumers with complex production processes that are vulnerable to production and financial losses as a result of regular supply interruptions due to planned outages.”

Aside from proper installation, the city advised that the generator should not be a noise nuisance to any neighbours.

Generators must not exceed 50A-weighing decibels or exceed a residual noise by more than five decibels. Residents that have complaints laid against them will have notices issued to them

Sonnenberg appealed to residents to take care when using generators.

“I appeal to residents with generators to please take extra care to soundproof their devices. In times of load shedding, when tensions are already running high, this kind of noise disturbance can test even the most patient among us.”

The city has received 18 complaints about loud generators, and Sonnenberg added that residents should be wary of any emissions that their generators could give off.

“If any resident feels that the smell or smoke of their neighbour’s generator is causing a nuisance, they are welcome to submit a complaint.

“An inspection will then be performed by the city’s environmental health department.”

Earlier this month, Ghana’s high commissioner to SA, Kwesi Ahwaoi revealed to Ghanaian radio station Starr FM that four Ghanaians living in SA were killed by fumes emitted by their generator.

A two-week-old baby was among those killed in the incident that occurred earlier this month.

Eskom spokesman Khulu Phasiwe said he was not able to provide comment on domestic generators, but added that Eskom was responsible for taking care of the generators that provides electricity across SA.

“We will do all that is possible so that people won’t have to use generators.”

Phasiwe said he had read many articles of people using generators incorrectly like, “reports of people using them inside their homes”, and said Eskom maintained their generators to ensure that there are no such issues.

* All generator-related complaints can be submitted to the city’s general enquiries call centre by phoning 0860 103 089, or by forwarding an e-mail message to [email protected]

[email protected]

Cape Argus