Western Cape to provide disadvantaged households with load-shedding emergency kits — What to know

The provincial government set aside R60m to provide thousands of disadvantaged households with load-shedding emergency kits

14 April 2023 - 10:56
By Unathi Nkanjeni
Western Cape premier Alan Winde.
Image: Trevor Samson Western Cape premier Alan Winde.

The Western Cape government has set aside R60m to provide thousands of disadvantaged households with load-shedding emergency kits.

Earlier this year, premier Alan Winde said the provincial Treasury was asked to allocate R1.1bn in the three-year budget period to deal with the impact of load-shedding. 

Speaking on 702 this week, he said budget for the procurement of emergency kits was approved 14 days ago. 

The project aims to lessen the impact of load-shedding during winter. 

“We have 250,000 indigent households. The initial amount [R60m] will cover about 100,000 households and we estimate about R600 per emergency pack,” he said. 

“They would consist of some sort of charging capability to charge a [cell]phone, some sort of lighting capability [rechargeable] and a cooking bag to help with keeping food warm.”

Winde said the provincial government does not have enough money to provide all 250,000 indigent households with load-shedding emergency kits. 

Existing data will be used to determine indigent households, cross-referenced with municipal data of households receiving free basic services. 

“I have engaged the business chambers in the region and they are keen to partner. We will be engaging, on Friday, with municipalities to hopefully get to 250,000 households this winter,” Winde said. 

Winde last year announced plans to set up a task team to help mitigate the impact of load-shedding in the province.

He said load-shedding is expected to worsen in 2023 and the province has resolved to establish an executive-level task team. 

“The country will face another difficult year in 2023 on the energy front,” the premier said.

“Eskom has been up front about this. Load-shedding is likely to worsen as they seek to improve the reliability of our energy infrastructure through their proposed maintenance plan. There will be more pressure on the power grid along with the possibility of unplanned breakdowns of generation units. We will do everything we can to ameliorate this in 2023.”

He said the Western Cape government spent a significant amount of time across its departments working to mitigate load-shedding. 

“Work is under way to support businesses, households and vulnerable groups. 

“While we are continuously reviewing and updating our energy crisis contingency plan and boosting efforts to ameliorate the impact of mass power cuts, the provincial government will support Eskom in any way it can,” he said.

The task team will look at:

  • how the province can support households and businesses by introducing energy efficiencies to reduce strain on the grid;
  • review how the provincial government can support new energy generation, including exploring the development of possible frameworks and standards for energy wheeling agreements, offering further support for small-scale embedded generation and supporting municipalities in engaging with independent power producers;
  • continue to work with municipalities to develop their own energy plans and improve their energy resilience, such as the municipalities of Cape Town, George and Stellenbosch;
  • prepare for possible increases in the severity of load-shedding and the impact this could have on critical infrastructure and services; and
  • communicate with stakeholders about the energy crisis.

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