Look whose load doesn’t get shed

2014-12-14 15:00

President Jacob Zuma, most of the members in his Cabinet and parliamentarians don’t have to worry about load shedding.

The lights at the highly secure Bryntirion Estate in Pretoria and the parliamentary village of Acacia Park in Cape Town have kept burning in recent weeks, while elsewhere in the country homes and businesses have been in darkness.

Zuma’s official Pretoria residence, Mahlamba Ndlopfu, is in the Bryntirion Estate complex.

The Tshwane and Cape Town metros say these areas cannot be placed on load shedding schedules for “technical reasons”.

Eskom spokesperson Andrew Etzinger said power to some big industrial customers, like oil refineries, coal mines and water pumping stations, which contribute directly to electricity provision, is never cut.

“It can be that certain clients are on the same network as the critical industries. They will also not have power cuts because it is impossible to isolate individual clients,” Etzinger said.

He said most urban users receive power from their municipalities, which control their own load shedding schedules.

He could not comment on allegations that ministers and parliamentarians don’t experience load shedding.

Selby Bokaba, spokesperson for the Tshwane metro, said the substation that electrifies Bryntirion Estate is low voltage and can’t be switched on and off remotely.

“We don’t have enough officials and manpower available to physically go and switch off low-voltage substations,” he said.

Priya Reddy, spokesperson for the Cape Town metro, said they had “limited access” to the substation that supplied power to Acacia Park.

“We have an arrangement that Eskom will switch off this substation on our behalf, but due to technical limitations, it cannot switch it on and off at a distance.”

The ministerial and presidential housing complex on Cape Town’s Groote Schuur estate and Western Cape Premier Helen Zille’s official residence, Leeuwenhof, are on a grid that can be turned off – but they have generators. Zille said a previous ANC premier had installed Leeuwenhof’s generator.

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