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2008-08-07: Joburg builds electricity reserves

BY the end of August 2008, Joburg will have 80Megawatts (MW) of electricity reserves as a result of recommissioning two gas turbines. This makes Joburg one of the few cities in the country to have an independent source of electricity.

"As a City that has the interest of residents at heart, we had to quickly find the means to protect them from the effects of load shedding", says Silas Zimu Managing Director for City Power.

Zimu says, "We are the economic hub of Africa and frequently host international events, so we cannot have a situation that puts residents, business, investors and tourists at financial and personal risk".

He said unless Eskom asks the City to load shed more than 200MW of electricity, "people can confidently go about their business" without the frustration of having to be subjected to load shedding. This means no more traffic congestion, loss of business profits, buying generators and cooking extra meals.

Another 40MW of electricity will be available from a third gas turbine unit once recommissioning starts. "We intend having a total 550MW of controllable load at our disposable by 2010", says Zimu. He said this will be made up of 120MW from the gas turbines, an additional 190MW from Kelvin Power Station, 120MW from the current ripple geyser controls and another 120MW from future ripple geyser controls.

Zimu cautioned that this did not mean that the City will not experience power outages due to unplanned technical problems or that residents should no longer use electricity sparingly or be energy efficient.

"Joburg, a City where community development, personal growth and social mobility are enhanced so that challenges of poverty, vulnerability, inequality and social exclusion are fundamentally addressed".