Pretoria - The rolling blackouts implemented by Eskom have been blamed for damaging municipal electricity infrastructure in Tshwane.
MMC for utilities and regional operations Daryl Johnston lamented the negative impact of the ongoing load shedding on the City’s infrastructure after Eskom announced that it would increase load shedding to stage 6. The stage meant that residents experienced rotational power outages two or three times a day in different parts of the country, and at times, for four hours.
Johnston said load shedding had a negative impact on municipal infrastructure and electricity networks, which were not designed to be continuously turned on and off.
He said increased levels of load shedding often resulted in a crisis for the municipality as this situation negatively affected the electricity network and the ability to attend to outages.
“It is important for residents to note that load shedding can result in additional outages due to high surges and overloading of the network, as well as vandalism and theft of City infrastructure,” Johnston said.
He added that as the frequency of load shedding increased, “City resources will be stretched as our teams have to be deployed across Tshwane to implement load shedding”, adding:
“The same team that has to perform the task of switching on and off electricity across Tshwane also plays a critical role in the repair and maintenance of our electricity network.
“This means that the team will have significantly less time available to work on restoring electricity in terms of power outages not related to load shedding.”
According to Johnston, the heavy rains also made the situation worse: “With wet weather increasing the likelihood of equipment faults. This situation is very serious for the entire Tshwane.”
Johnston urged residents to limit the negative effects of load shedding by switching off appliances and any other high energy-consuming machinery during load shedding.
Tshwane mayor Randall Williams said: “I’ve instructed MMCs and City officials to establish an electricity joint operations centre, pulling resources together to speedily address prolonged power outages across the city. Things might get worse with stage 6 load shedding, but we are now taking new steps to address outages.”
Mayor Johnston said: “In line with the directive given by executive mayor Alderman Randall Williams, today I am setting up a crisis task team to pool resources to effectively address power outages.
“We will monitor this situation closely and work to ensure that the City responds as swiftly as possible to electricity network challenges that arise from load shedding.”