Load-Shedding: City Power To Exclude Key Firms, No More 4-Hour Power Cuts

Johannesburg – The City power will exclude key customers, essential services, and some businesses from load-shedding.

Announcing the new load-shedding scheduling system, Environment Infrastructure Services MMC Jack Sekwaila on Thursday said in addition to excluding some businesses, the City of Johannesburg was also eliminating the “4-hour-long” power cuts.

MMC Sekwaila said the new system will see load-shedding limited to a maximum of 2-hour durations (plus 30 minutes) up to Stage 8.

MMC Sekwaila said the move, which will be implemented gradually from early June 2023, will go a long way toward saving jobs, ensuring businesses remain sustainable, and keeping the City attractive to investors.

“The City has the responsibility to attract investments, retain those already operating within Joburg, and secure jobs for our residents,” said MMC Sekwaila.

“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 emigrated to other provinces where reliable electricity supply is guaranteed,”

MMC Sekwaila said most large power users and key business customers were already excluded from load-shedding through the “load curtailment agreements with the companies”.

He said other businesses, especially those in industrial areas that employ many people, will be gradually excluded.

“This will involve the reconfiguration of the network and other processes including the rolling out of energy techniques,” said MMC Sekwaila.

“The new arrangement will see many other essential services added to the load-shedding exclusion.

“The City is already exempting most health and water services following the request by the government last year.

“We may not right away be able to exclude all at once because of the embedded nature of the network.”

MMC Sekwaila said the changes come as City Power works towards implementing a new load-shedding schedule.

Explaining how the new system will work, City Power CEO Tshifularo Mashava said: “To achieve standardisation, City Power identified 16 blocks that can shed the required load per block”.

She added: “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 ensure 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.

“The new schedule will ensure that our customers no longer endure many hours of load-shedding, with others shed for four hours in one go.”

She said the new schedule will reduce the frequency of customers being load-shedded and in addition, blocks will not get load-shedded at the same time for the same stage in consecutive days.

“In simple terms, our customers will be on for longer than it is now, especially in lower stages,” Mashava said.

She said City Power was finalising plans and consultations with Eskom to ensure a smooth transition and the full implementation of the new load-shedding schedule by early to mid-June.

Mashava said the development will see City Power assume complete responsibility for operating all of its substations during load shedding.

“We will be able to ensure an equitable distribution of the load shedding amount on customers and also ensure that we provide Eskom only with the exact amount of load required in each load shedding cycle,” said Mashava.

The design of the new load-shedding schedule achieves the following:
●    Eliminates the 4-hour duration in all stages and maintains 2 hours (plus 30 minutes) up to stage 8.
●    In a 4 or 5-day Stage 1 or 2 load-shedding, a customer may be shed only once per day.
●    After a block is restored, there is a 2-hour reprieve before the next scheduled time.
●    A block is scheduled in a zig-zag fashion alternating between lower and higher stages in the 24-hour period. This reduces frequency in comparison to the current load-shedding schedule.
●    The maximum duration the block can be switched off in 24 hours is 12 hours or 6 times in higher stages like Stage 8.
●    Given that it is 16 blocks, 2 hours per time slot in 24 hours and 31 days, the algorithm is designed like a square to ensure fairness to all blocks. This explains 50% chance of enjoying less frequent and 50% of worst case depending on the day.