City power explores plan to reduce load shedding hours for Johannesburg
City Power is seeking to reduce load shedding. According to News24, The power-distribution utility in Johannesburg is actively engaged in discussions with Eskom, the state power utility, to alleviate the impact of power outages in the city of over 5 million people. In an interview on Tuesday, City Power spokesman Isaac Mangena revealed that officials had proposed reducing blackouts to two hours at a time to assist businesses in managing the challenges posed by load shedding. Furthermore, the authorities are exploring alternative energy sources, such as solar and gas, and considering initiatives like converting street lights to solar power.
Mangena highlighted the plan’s significance: “What we are working on is a plan to cushion our customers from the frequency of load shedding. Currently, you have customers being switched off for four hours at a time. That is killing a lot of people because you have no productivity for that period. So we have looked at the viability of reducing this to two hours.”
The issues with Eskom have meant citizens must endure lengthy power cuts, lasting up to half a day, as the utility struggles to meet electricity demands. According to Eskom, these blackouts cost the country an estimated R300 billion in 2022, equivalent to approximately 5% of the gross domestic product.
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Load shedding has been troublesome for small businesses, leading to reduced production time, increased costs, diminished profitability, and even some companies closing down. For example, a study conducted by Nedbank revealed that two-thirds of small firms in South Africa’s townships had to cut jobs due to the effects of power cuts.
City Power faces dire challenges due to the ongoing situation, incurring a daily loss of around R3.6 million. In addition, the constant need for equipment repairs and the deployment of additional staff to manage load shedding has put the company in a highly critical state, according to Mangena.
The plan’s details will likely be available by mid-next month. The proposed strategies and alternative energy sources aim to strengthen the city’s power supply and guard against the effects of power outages.
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Picture: Unsplash / Steffen Lemmerzahl