City could plunge into darkness

2014-06-19 00:00

UNLESS load-shedding takes place the city would face an all-out blackout that could plunge the eThekwini municipality into darkness for nearly two weeks.

The widespread load-shedding throughout Durban on Tuesday and yesterday evening may be the beginning of a dark winter with Eskom reporting that “the winter reserve” will be “extremely tight during peak periods” between 5 pm and 9 pm. Another national alert was put out by Eskom yesterday.

On Tuesday night parts of Phoenix, Umlazi, Umhlanga, Winkelspruit, Sydenham and Hillcrest were among the areas affected. According to the city, some areas, like La Lucia Mall and La Lucia South, did suffer outages “longer than necessary” owing to “overload tripping when power was restored”.

Eskom had sent out a a “load reduction alert” nationally after losing “600 MW on the system”.

If load-shedding continues and depending on Eskom’s demands up 194 areas in Durban could have their lights cut off between 4pm and 9pm today — including the CBD.

eThekwini electricity city tariff engineer Abrie Cronje said the city’s load-shedding schedule is purposely made in order to meet the requirements for energy saving at a “moment’s notice” from Eskom.

“If we face a blackout, to restart everything will take time. This must be avoided. We are given very little time to comply with demands by Eskom to reduce our demand. The load-shedding schedule is devised in such a way that we can meet the demand as quickly as possible. We have made every attempt to make sure our load-shedding schedule is geographically based so as to make it more user friendly,” said Cronje.

He said the city must manage its approximately 670 000 household users, 45 000 small businesses and 900 bulk customers. Residential areas are cut first followed by the commercial sector.

The load-shedding schedule is divided into three tiers. Level one requires a five percent reduction, level two is 10% and level three is 20%. Currently the city consumes 1 700 MV.

eThekwini communications head Tozi Mthethwa said:

“The schedule is based on a national standard to ensure equity is achieved via load-shedding.”

She said it does pose difficulties to meet the demands of Eskom as various areas have different consumption patterns throughout the day.

“Positively, consumption has decreased by under a percent. It is difficult to pinpoint the reasons but we believe residents are being conservative when using electricity as residential consumption has decreased overall.

“Consumption in small businesses has also come down but industrial customers appear to have picked up during this time thereby offsetting the decrease on small businesses and residents.”

La Lucia Mall operations manager Wayne Shelley said a number of clients used back-up generators.

“There are costs involved in using a generator so a shop owner must take this into account. A number of the businesses were forced to close for the evening. We were cut at about 6 pm. Depending on the frequency of load-shedding it is difficult to associate what loss a business would incur during these off periods,” said Shelley.

He said better notice by the council would assist businesses in their decision making.

Load-shedding schedule

If load-schedding is enforced in Durban the following areas could be affected this evening between 4 pm and 9 pm. For more information, contact eThekwini Metro or visit

Amanzimtoti Central, Amanzimtoti North, Amanzimtoti South, Bayview, Bulwer, Havenside, Itshelimnyama, Kharwastan, Klaarwater, Kwa Makhutha, La Lucia North, La Lucia Mall, La Lucia South, La Lucia Ridge, Lamontville, Regency Park, Rydalvale, Silverglen, Somerset Park, Carrington Heights, Cordoba Gardens, Dassenhoek, Mariannhill Mission, Mariann Heights, Mariannhill Industrial Park, Mariannridge, Mobeni Heights, Mpola, Nagina, Sunningdale, Thornglen, Thornwood, Washington Heights, Ezimbokodweni, Gateway North, Gateway Shopping Centre, Nsiswakazi, Prestondale, Yellowwood Park, Avoca, Avoca Hills, Avoca North, Avoca South, Beverly Hills, Broadlands, Lenham, Longcroft, Rockford, Southgate, Stanmore, Stonebridge, Sunford, Centenary Park, Clayfield, Coronation, Corovoca, Duffs Road, Mangosuthu Technikon, Mount Moriah, Umhlanga Manor, Umhlanga Ridge, Umhlanga Rocks, Umlazi Hospital, Eastbury, Flanders Estate, Glen Hills, Glenashley, Greenbury, Grove End, Northcroft, Park Gate, Phoenix South, Rainham, Redfern, Westridge (Umhlanga), Whetstone, Assagai, Bellgate, Belvedere, Berea West, Besters Camp, Bothas Hill, Buena Vista, Hillcrest, Hilldene, Hilltop Gardens, Kingsburgh, Kwa Mashu, Kwa Nyuswa, Kwa Shembe, St Winifreds, Chelmsford, Doonside, Maidstone, Musgrave, Surprise Farm, Sydenham, The Gardens, Tollgate, Tongaat, Trurolands Industrial, Embo, Essenwood, Flamingo Heights, Hambanathi, Ngcolosi, Overport, West Riding (Hillcrest), Westridge Park, Whitfield Park, Winkelspruit, Winston Park, Bakerville Gardens, Briardene, Briardene Industrial Park, Hillgrove, Hippo Road, Inanda Newtown, La Mercy, Riverdene, Riverhorse Valley, Rosehill, Sea Tides, Sibaya Casino, Castle Hill, Casuarina Beach, Charnwood, Corobrick Industrials, Durban North, Earlsfield, Morningside, Mt Morelands, New Dawn Park, Newlands East, Newlands West, Umdloti, Waterloo, Effingham Heights, Essenwood, Fosaville, Game City, Greenwood Park, Newsel Beach, Ntuzuma, Old Mill Industrial, Ottawa, Parkhill, Parlock, Peters Road Industrial, Puntans Hill, Redhill, Redhill Industrial Park, Westbrook Beach, Adams Mission, Amanzimtoti Beach, Athlone Park, Bayhead, Berea, Kingsway, Durban Central, Umbilo, Ezimbokodweni, Greyville, Westville, Beachwood, Blue Lagoon, Kenville, Riverside, Sea Cow Lake, Springfield Park, Maydon Wharf, Mpola, Thornwood, Virginia, Glen Anil, Prospect Hall, Inanda, South Beach, Phoenix Industrial Park, Point, Bellair, Jacobs, Jacobs Industrial, Sherwood, South Coast Rd, Clairwood, Mayville, Sydenham.

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