Hospitals won’t be spared cuts

2008-04-02 00:00

There will be no mercy for hospitals or large industry in Pietermaritzburg when more electricity outages — each for a longer duration — begin today.

And Msunduzi consumers will get little respite on weekends, with Saturday load shedding too. There will be no load shedding on Sundays.

The new schedule allows Msunduzi to save the 18 MVA now required by Eskom, as opposed to the previous 10 MVA.

Phil Mashoko, manager for infrastructure, services and facilities at Msunduzi, said Eskom has also indicated that load shedding of up to 30 MVA may be required in “times of emergency”.

He said no preferential treatment will be given to any consumer, as all switching will now be done remotely from primary sub-stations feeding large areas and not from switchgears at mini-sub-stations.

Mashoko said that ageing switchgears have become dangerous and artisans have refused to do the switching.

Health Department spokesman Leon Mbangwa said that although all state hospitals in the city have back-up generators, they do not give full capacity. “We are certainly going to be affected and we want Msunduzi to reconsider this decision. We are dealing with lives and people only have one life. We don’t want a situation we will regret because we are sacrificing the quality of patient care because of outages.”

A spokesperson for a private hospital, who asked not to be identified, said they are investing in a second generator.

Vithesh Ramklown, marketing manager at St Anne’s Hospital, said they have contingency plans in place and do not expect the hospital to come to a standstill.

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