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Blackouts: Joburg’s multiparty government actively working on long-term solutions as SA deals with power emergency

South Africa's power utility Eskom implements rolling blackouts. Image: REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko

South Africa's power utility Eskom implements rolling blackouts. Image: REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko

Published Jun 28, 2022

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City of Joburg’s multiparty government has announced that it is actively working on long-term solutions to mitigate blackouts in Johannesburg.

This announcement was made by City of Joburg’s executive mayor’s office, amid power utility informing the public earlier today that Stage 6 load shedding would be implemented from 4pm to 10pm this evening, and that Stage 4 load shedding would then be implemented from 10pm to midnight.

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Eskom further said load shedding would then be reduced to Stage 2 until 5am on Wednesday, followed by Stage 4 load shedding from 5am to 4pm on Wednesday. Stage 6 load shedding will then again be implemented from 4pm to 10pm tomorrow.

The City of Joburg recently held its first Energy Indaba to attract investment in alternative-energy solutions and to start the process of bringing on board independent power producers (IPPs), so they can begin offsetting rolling blackouts.

Mayoral spokesperson Mabine Seabe said it was announced as one of the Energy Indaba’s resolutions, that the MMC for environment and infrastructure services Michael Sun would lead a delegation from City Power to visit the City of Cape Town.

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This will be on a benchmarking programme to learn more about their process of procuring IPPs, as well as the City of Cape Town’s progress made on finding alternative and long-term solutions to the energy crisis, which in part means reducing Joburg’s dependency on Eskom.

Seabe said Sun, the acting chief executive of City Power Tshifularo Mashava, and director of energy at City Power Meyrick Ramatlo, visited the City of Cape Town to meet with executive mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis, and MMC for energy in the City of Cape Town Beverly van Reenen. They embarked on site visits to the Steenbras pumped-storage power station and the Bloemhof network control centre.

“The benchmarking tour is about learning and joining hands with the City of Cape Town in partnering to advance energy independence,” Seabe said.

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He said this was part of actioning their commitments to the residents of the City of Joburg at the Energy Indaba to improve electricity supply, create opportunities for energy resilience, and attract investment to the city.

“The frustration and anger of residents is heard, but we appeal to residents for a level of patience as we attend to a multitude of breakages and outages,” Seabe said.

Eskom blamed the blackouts on what they called “unlawful and unprotected strikes” by some of its employees.

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“This is due to the unlawful and unprotected labour action, which has caused widespread disruption to Eskom’s power plants. This has compelled Eskom to continue taking precautionary measures to conserve generation capacity and safeguard plants from damage.

“There is a high risk that the stage of load shedding might have to change at any time, depending on the state of the plant,” said Eskom’s spokesperson Sikonathi Mantshantsha.

He said Eskom was appealing to all South Africans to help limit the impact of the shortages by continuing to reduce the usage of electricity, and to switch off all non-essential electrical appliances.

“Three of the 10 generation units that had tripped during the night have been returned to service. This, however, is still insufficient to stave off the implementation of Stage 6 load shedding for this evening and tomorrow evening.

“We currently have 3 218MW on planned maintenance, while another 17 621MW of capacity is unavailable due to breakdowns,” Mantshantsha said.

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