Electricity stays on in this little town

24 March 2019 - 00:00 By NIVASHNI NAIR

Newcastle residents' lives are not run by the load-shedding schedule.
When people in the northern KwaZulu-Natal town have candlelit dinners, it is by choice.
Not one of the 55,000 inhabitants of Newcastle West has experienced load-shedding - because between the residents and Eskom there lies a municipal system that institutes "load management" instead.
The Newcastle municipality, a licensed distributor of electricity, is entitled to introduce its own measures for the prevention of scheduled blackouts.
During periods of national load-shedding, the town cuts back on a certain amount of electricity per day, depending on the national grid requirements. How it does this is up to town officials.
At the moment, instead of load-shedding, the town implements geyser switches. Geyser-controlling regulators are installed in every home and these switch off during peak times.
"The Newcastle electrical department has been pro-active regarding the installation of load-management equipment," said Newcastle municipal spokesperson Dumisani Thabethe.
"Our electrical management system allows the electrical department to effectively administer no load-shedding."
Newcastle residents consider themselves fortunate.
"To live in Newcastle is a privilege," said resident Johan Pieters. "I can see what load-shedding is doing to my friends in other parts of the country."
Local insurance broker Nompilo Zulu experienced load-shedding for the first time when she was in Johannesburg for work this week. "Everyone and everything appeared to be run by the schedule. We had to wrap up meetings before load-shedding hit. We had to choose restaurants to eat in based on the schedule.
"Everyone just seemed on edge. We have our everyday stress in Newcastle but we don't have the added pressure of living by the load-shedding schedule," she said.
While Newcastle West residents rejoice that there is power all the time, their neighbours in the Madadeni and Osizweni townships in Newcastle East not only have load-shedding but endure blackouts for days at a time.
"Newcastle East receives electricity directly from Eskom," Thabethe said.
Eskom failed to respond to requests for comment.

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