Mashaba to Eskom: ‘free us from load shedding and let us self-generate’

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Johannesburg Metropolitan Municipality Executive Mayor Herman Mashaba released a statement on Wednesday, saying that Eskom's lack of foresight prevented the City of Joburg from generating its own power, leaving the richest city in South Africa beholden to the heavy-laden national grid.

The statement came as Eskom announced stage two load shedding on Wednesday. The power utility also notified South Africans of likely load shedding on Thursday as well.

This also comes amid speculation that Cabinet approved the Integrated Resource Plan during its meeting on Wednesday, opening the door for the energy master plan to be gazetted as soon as Friday.

Mashaba urged the country's large cities to do all that they could to ensure that they were not overly dependent on Eskom and the national grid for power.

"This latest round of load-shedding emphasises the need for cities to develop alternative forms of power production that will produce a level of independence from an increasingly unreliable Eskom," said Mashaba.

Mashaba said in December last year, the city received a letter from Eskom stating that City of Joburg could not offset its own load shedding requirements with the power independently generated from the Kelvin Power Station.

"Kelvin Power Station is an independent power producer that the City had been contracted to for the procurement of additional electricity as and when required.  Upon taking office, Eskom withdrew from funding this arrangement and left the City to foot the bill," Mashaba said.

Mashaba said the metro informed Eskom that it rejected Eskom's refusal of the request to offset load shedding with independently generated power, and are willing to proceed to the courts to fight for the residents of Johannesburg to receive this benefit for which they are already paying.

"If our residents are paying for it, and it is not being generated by Eskom, there is no rational basis for preventing us from using the 200MW produced at Kelvin to mitigate the crippling effects of load shedding," he said.

Mashaba added that a team from the city was engaging the Kelvin Power Station on whether a new contract could be negotiated to increase output sold to the city at a cheaper rate than Eskom, which he said could prevent all load shedding up to, and including, stage six.

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