City Power warns of daily winter 'load rotation' in suburbs hit by overloading

27 May 2020 - 16:01
By Kgaugelo Masweneng
'Load rotation' is on the cards for Johannesburg as the city's electricity system grows increasingly strained by illegal connections and overloading, says City Power.
Image: 123rf.com/ginasanders 'Load rotation' is on the cards for Johannesburg as the city's electricity system grows increasingly strained by illegal connections and overloading, says City Power.

City Power has warned Johannesburg residents about the possibility of imposing daily winter "load rotation" power cuts in suburbs where electricity infrastructure is overloaded.

It said on Wednesday that it was already experiencing capacity constraints in most areas, especially where illegal connections were on the rise.  

“The power outages are normally caused by high demand for electricity during the cold months of winter, which leads to network overloading. Illegal connections exacerbate the problem,” said the utility.

“While 90% of the City Power areas are electrified, informal settlements are still mushrooming and often illegally connect to electricity infrastructure, thus overloading the grid beyond its capacity. This behaviour violates city’s bylaws, causes infrastructure and equipment failure, and it is usually accompanied by vandalism of the electricity network.”

City Power said it would implement "load rotation" power cuts daily between 4pm and 10pm in areas where monitoring suggested infrastructure was under severe strain and pressure. 

The utility identified various hotspots with increases in electricity demand, partly due to illegal connections, leading to repeated unplanned power outages. These areas include:

CEO Lerato Setshedi said the effectiveness of the winter plan was not only dependent upon measures put in place by City Power but also required co-operation from customers.

“We urge residents to be responsible during this time. Besides causing overloading, equipment failure and unplanned power interruptions, illegal connections disrupt the lives of loyal and paying customers, lead to public fatalities that includes loss of children’s lives, make our electricity supply unreliable and results in loss of revenue for the organisation. Businesses get stuck when there is no electricity,” he said.

Customers are urged to be considerate and switch off all non-essential items during the peak hours of 4pm-10pm.

“It must be mentioned that the illegal connections do not happen in the informal settlements only, but we have seen the increase in the suburbia as well,” added Setshedi.