City Power plans to engage Eskom to find alternative ways to cushion residents of the City of Johannesburg against the impact of load shedding.
The City’s power utility has incurred a direct financial loss of over R58 million between 16 October 2019 and 5 January 2020 due to intermittent load shedding.
During this time, Eskom made at least 16 load shedding declarations as the power utility struggled with generation and other capacity constraints. The declarations ranged from Stage 1 to Stage 6 in December.
“We have said this before that the cost of load shedding is huge for us at City Power. We need to plan accordingly to maximise on other opportunities, including load limiting through smart meters, ripple relays, and increasing generating capacity at Kelvin Power Station so that we cushion our customers against the impact of load shedding. Plans are already underway to engage Eskom on some of these alternatives available for us,” said City Power CEO Lerato Setshedi.
City Power’s losses were felt mostly in three key areas, which include staff overtime as it is forced to avail technicians and operators after normal working hours to ensure restorations are done after load shedding. Due to its ageing infrastructure, City Power has seen an increase in areas taking longer to restore due to insurge currents and explosions.
Another area of loses is the equipment, which either failed during restorations, or the transformers or mini substations that exploded during insurgents of current. Rebooting the power grids is to the detriment of already aged infrastructure and will lead to a failure risk of said infrastructure.
The last is the loss of potential profit, which it would have made if it sold electricity to customers. But because of load shedding, people are not consuming, which means loss of revenue.
These loses do not include billions of rand lost by business’s lack of activity across the City of Johannesburg during load shedding, especially small and township-based businesses who don’t afford generators and other alternatives.
The breakdown of loses in the past three months are:
* Equipment failures – R14m
* Potential lost profit – R43.6m
* Overtime – R 1.2m
Written by Isaac Mangena