In an effort to “protect livelihoods and attract investments,” the City of Joburg has announced intentions to remove load shedding from “key customers, essential services, and some businesses.”
This announcement comes just a week after one of its subsidiaries, City Power, was forced to delete a statement outlining a revised load-shedding timetable for its consumers and some companies.
The initial statement stated that City Power customers would experience power cuts for two hours over a 24-hour period between stages one and seven.
On Thursday, MMC for environment and infrastructure services Jack Sekwaila stated that selected customers will be free from the load-shedding beginning in early June 2023.
He said, “The city has the responsibility to attract investments, retain those already operating within Joburg, and secure the jobs for our residents.
“This hasn’t been possible with the relentless load-shedding that has heavily impacted the economic activity within the city, leading to some businesses closing down while others emigrating to other provinces where reliable electricity supply is guaranteed.
“Most small businesses were forced to close due to the impact of load-shedding while still recovering from Covid-19. These plans will go a long way in ensuring we keep the economic activity going on in the midst of this gruelling loadshedding.”
He also said that while most large power users have been exempted from the power cut through load curtailment agreements with the companies, other businesses, particularly those in industrial areas and employing a large number of people, will be gradually exempted too due to:
“the reconfiguration of the network and other processes, including the roll-out of energy techniques.”
Those set to be excluded will be vital services that are now not covered by an exemption given by the city in response to a government request.
“We may not right away be able to exclude all at once because of the embedded nature of the network.
“The changes come as City Power works towards implementing a new load-shedding schedule which will see the four-hour schedule currently happening from stage four, reduced to two hours schedule throughout up until stage eight.
“City Power technicians and engineers have been working hard for the past few months, among others conducting simulations, looking for ways to reduce the burden of load-shedding on our customers, our infrastructure and the resources.”
City Power boss Tshifularo Mashava explained that “To achieve standardisation, City Power identified 16 blocks that can shed the required load per block.
“It is important to mention that the substations serving the Reuven, Hursthill, Alexandra and Inner City areas are remotely controlled by the City Power control room during load-shedding.
“The substations in all other areas are still manually operated and measures are underway, ‘with budgets committed to ensuring that those substations in other SDC are operated remotely.
“With the higher stages of load-shedding which are becoming our lived reality now, the lives of our customers are heavily disrupted.”