The King Sabata Dalindyebo (KSD) Local Municipality has defended itself amid claims from customers that it was taking longer to restore power after the scheduled loadshedding period had lapsed.
The municipality says restoration of power due to loadshedding is not in their control, as it is controlled by Eskom.
“We agree with some of our customers that the frequency and duration of loadshedding is excessive; it is a fact for the past three months that Eskom Regional load sheds Mthatha 1 remotely, and after loadshedding has ended, when they are supposed to restore power remotely the circuit breaker would refuse to close remotely.
“After the circuit breaker fails to close remotely, they then dispatch an operator to go on-site and close the breaker manually. This takes time and delays restoration,” reads a statement issued by the municipality.
The municipality further blamed the prolonged water outages due to loadshedding on cable theft and failure in their electricity infrastructure due to the electrical stress it suffers.
“The other problem that we have started to experience in the last two months is a situation where copper thieves are taking advantage of the extended loadshedding hours to dig up our cables to steal copper, leading to localised long hours of outage and power that does not return at the expected time, because a piece of cable has been stolen,” said municipal spokesperson Sonwabo Mampoza.
“The other problem we are experiencing due to loadshedding is the higher than normal failure of equipment like mini substations, transformers and cables due to electrical stresses they suffer,” added Mampoza.
The municipality stressed that it did not have control on loadshedding and what happens at Eskom.
“We stand ready to engage further if more clarity is required. We do negotiate with Eskom, and sometimes successfully in cases where there has been delay in restoration after loadshedding, to skip the next scheduled loadshedding to compensate for the delay and give relief to our customers.
“Sometimes we fail, depending on the generation capacity available, as loadshedding is undertaken as the last resort by Eskom to prevent total grid collapse,” concluded Mampoza.