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    Load shedding crisis: Muizenberg residents ready themselves to take back the power

    January 24, 2023 - Natasha Bezuidenhout (@NatashaLeeBezu1)


      Residents in Muizenberg are fed-up and frustrated with constant load shedding, so they are taking matters into their own hands starting with a Muizenberg Electricity Crisis Committee aimed at possible solutions such as community energy cooperatives and microgrids.

      The committee, which is the brainchild of David Robert Lewis, an anti-apartheid activist and environmentalist, had its first meeting last week.

      Explaining the ideas, Lewis said the proposal is to create a "big Muizenberg battery" to stabilise the community's overall energy supply.

      "We are going to apply our minds to the proposal to create a big Muizenberg battery to stabilise our overall community supply which will be administered via a community energy cooperative.

      "This will allow PVs and even low profile wind turbines to feed into the battery system, it may seem like pie in the sky but it is better than sitting in the dark waiting for the City to solve our problems."

      He added that they (the committee) would assist the community with purchasing the materials necessary to create a 18 650 home storage battery project.

      "It will be a lot more affordable than a R5 000 to R17 000 UPS system per household."

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      He added that acting like load shedding was the new norm would not improve matters.

      "Living in denial of the problem or buying into the lie that our politicians are working to fix Eskom cannot remove the basic macroeconomics of the massive debt balloon and failure of the new mega coal projects.

      "We urgently need to call a public meeting to discuss the crisis and the way forward as a community.

      "Once we have sufficient members and some momentum, we will elect an executive consisting of a treasurer, secretary and or chair. Then adopt a simple manifesto or constitution. This will enable us to begin fundraising. Until then, we can act in an ad hoc capacity."

      He added that with regards to the Muizenberg Big Battery (MBB) or Community Energy Cooperative (CEC), it is time to get the ball rolling by doing feasibility, for a site, scoping and costing.

      "I'm sure there are plenty of electrical engineers out there willing to assist us.

      "The reason we are behind loadshedding has nothing to do with privatisation," he adds.

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      "It is because organised crime looted the R400 billion MegaCoal build and we burnt through R7 billion in six months using peaking diesel plants and have no money to maintain the fleet which is falling apart.

      "When next you fill up at the petrol pump, remember that government regulates and taxes fuel in South Africa. Nobody complains about the prospect of job losses because you're purchasing fuel from BP or Shell.

      "When one of these outlets goes bankrupt nobody gets shocked by a sudden rise in price to save the business from bankruptcy. That's why the market exists so that we don't have to fund cartels and organised crime syndicates posing as politicians or unionists."

      Meanwhile, residents have aired their frustrations on social media.

      One resident wrote about the daily frustrations everyone is facing due to load shedding.

      "My dear Muizenbergers. I know that everyone is going through the same daily frustrations around this ridiculous load shedding stage 6 and unknowns beyond this.

      "Implications on the personal and business side are immense and incalculable. Not being able to work properly, no internet or proper communications.

      "No actual government plan to resolve the problems in the short term, no help on the horizon."

      Reacting to the post another resident wrote:

      "I think instead of getting caught up in the chaos of the filthy thieving, people or communities need to start making plans to be self-sustainable and get on with life.

      "Put time and energy into preparing for the worse to come instead of venting."

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