Glimmer of light: City of Johannesburg to offer residents, businesses, slight load shedding reprieve

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  • Load shedding hours will be reduced through a new schedule to be implemented by City Power.
  • Some services and businesses will also be exempt from outages.
  • The new schedule should offer homes and businesses some reprieve from load shedding, the City said.

The City of Johannesburg has shared more details about a plan to reduce the impact of load shedding on the city.

The power utility is currently working toward a new load shedding schedule which will see four-hour outages reduced by two hours until Stage 8.

City Power CEO Tshifularo Mashava said the new schedule would reduce the frequency of outages, and blocks would not have outages at the same time for the same stage on consecutive days.

"In simple terms, our customers will be on for longer than it is now, especially in lower stages. The design of the new schedule ensures that in a four or five-day Stage 1 or 2 load shedding schedule, a customer may have one outage per day," she said.

"A block is scheduled in a zig-zag fashion alternating between lower and higher stages in the 24-hour period. This reduces the frequency in comparison to the current load-shedding schedule.

"Given that it is 16 blocks, 2 hours per time slot in 24 hours and 31 days, the algorithm is designed like a square to ensure fairness to all blocks.

"The new load shedding schedule design also ensures that customers will have a two-hour reprieve between outages and that the maximum period a block can be switched off in 24 hours is 12 hours in higher stages like Stage 8."

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In addition, certain services and businesses will be exempt from load shedding in what the municipality says is an "effort to protect livelihoods" and attract investment into Johannesburg.

Environment Infrastructure Services MMC Jack Sekwaila said that relief would be gradually implemented from June. 

"The City has the responsibility to attract investments, retain those already operating within Joburg, and secure jobs for our residents," he said.

READ | We've had more load shedding so far this year than in the whole of 2022

"This hasn't been possible with the relentless load shedding that has heavily impacted the economic activity within the City, leading to some businesses closing down while others emigrated to other provinces where reliable electricity supply is guaranteed.

"Already most large power users and key business customers are excluded from loadshedding through the load curtailment agreements with the companies."

He added:

Other businesses, especially those in industrial areas and employ many people, will be gradually excluded - owing to the reconfiguration of the network and other processes including the rolling out of energy techniques.

Essential services, as well as health and water services will receive an exemption.

City Power is finalising plans and consultations with Eskom around the transition to the new load shedding schedule.

This will see City Power assume complete responsibility for operating all its substations during load shedding. 

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