eThekwini deals with the ‘nasty surprise’

2014-03-07 00:00

THE sudden load shedding imposed countrywide caught Durban residents and the business sector by surprise.

Early yesterday morning the city imposed a Stage Three load-shedding schedule that saw residential, commercial and industrial sectors plunged into unscheduled cuts, disrupting production and causing chaos.

The eThekwini Metro needed to cut, by 9 am, 10% of its load — about 450 MW — in order to meet the demands made by Eskom.

Eskom has confirmed that the load shedding could continue through the weekend until the system has stabilised although it had downgraded its power shortage severity to Stage Two by yesterday afternoon, a level which mainly affects commercial areas.

Chairperson of the Durban Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI) Andrew Layman said while Eskom had made public announcements in recent weeks on the dire power situation, the sudden cuts and its severity put business in an uncomfortable position.

“It was a nasty surprise,” he said.

“For the business sector, if they know when their power will be cut they can plan production around it.

“This is very different if the power outages are on an ad hoc basis as it was Thursday [yesterday],” said Layman. “It is difficult to predict when to start production and when to stop. Manufacturers were left in a situation where their production line stopped mid-stream and they are uncertain whether to send staff home.”

Spokesperson for Toyota South Africa’s Durban manufacturing plant, Leo Kok said their plant was affected. “We generally produce about 740 cars per day but I can confirm there was a shutdown and that we could not produce vehicles during that period.

“At this stage I cannot say what effect the load shedding will have on overall production,” said Kok.

City spokesperson Thabo Mofokeng said the municipality communicated with its clients via different media and social media as well as letters sent to 620 business customers.

“However, due to the urgent nature of the request to shed the load, the message may not have been cascaded to all concerned stakeholders in time for the cuts,” said Mofokeng.

Manager of Spar Umhlanga Wayne Berman, , said that some of their customers had just woken up to the fact that load shedding was upon them.

“Most did not know that there would be load shedding taking place,” said Berman.

“But after it was announced and some people experienced it, sales in candles as well as batteries increased.

“Some of the residents now have generators, as do most of the bed-and-breakfasts in Umhlanga, so many are well equipped to handle load shedding,” he said.

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.