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Brace yourself, eThekwini — load-shedding is coming after flood damage reprieve

04 July 2022 - 14:42
The eThekwini municipality is preparing for load-shedding after a temporary reprieve. Stock photo.
The eThekwini municipality is preparing for load-shedding after a temporary reprieve. Stock photo.
Image: 123RF/ beercrafter

The lights will soon go out for flood-hit Durban and surrounds as the eThekwini municipality gears to implement load-shedding.

Extensive damage to its electricity and water infrastructure prevented the city from implementing load-shedding according to its previous schedules.

However, in a joint statement with Eskom on Monday, the city’s electricity department said: “The municipality has agreed on the process for the soonest implementation of load-shedding to assist Eskom mitigate the risk of a national grid collapse.

“The municipality has further assessed the long-term strategy to implement load-shedding as soon as possible to the equivalent load, as was the case before the disaster.

“Eskom and eThekwini Electricity have met on several occasions since the devastating floods to try to manage the risk. At these meetings the municipality indicated that in an effort to prevent and mitigate any further risk and potential damages to infrastructure, it was unable to discharge load-shedding according to the load-shedding schedules at the municipality.”

Studies indicate that in the aftermath of the disaster, the municipality lost 50% (between 700MW to 800MW) of electrical load on its electrical infrastructure.

“To date a significant portion of this load has not been restored and will continue to be off the grid until extensive repairs are carried out.

“Importantly, there is agreement that the integrity of the electrical infrastructure was so severely compromised that if parts of the infrastructure and loads were to trip either through a manual intervention (load-shedding) or an electrical fault, it is possible and likely that the municipality grid could be even more severely damaged, further lengthening the duration of the outage.”

The municipality said along with Eskom it was mindful that further electrical damage would severely compromise the water rationing programme that was introduced to protect the supply, with some parts of Durban still without water.

“As a result, there is an agreement that the municipality is operating in an emergency capacity for both electrical and water services.”

The municipality said that if for any reason after load-shedding in the first few instances “a negative impact on the electrical and water infrastructure is deemed to be unacceptably high”, it will need to engage with Eskom immediately.

“The municipality has started the required planning to ensure that the above can be executed. The municipality agrees on the need to implement load-shedding for the purposes of grid stability.”

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