Cape Town – The power-distribution utility in Johannesburg, City Power, is reportedly in discussions with Eskom to minimise power outages in the city.
According to Bloomberg News, City Power officials have proposed reducing the duration of blackouts in Johannesburg from four hours to two hours at a time to assist businesses in coping with the disruptions.
They are also exploring alternative energy sources such as solar and gas, as well as initiatives like converting street lights to solar power.
“What we are working on is a plan to cushion our customers from the frequency of load shedding.
“Currently you have customers being switched off for four hours at a time. That is killing a lot of people because you have no productivity for that period. So we have looked at the viability of reducing this to two hours,” the report quoted City Power spokesperson Isaac Mangena as saying.
ALSO READ | SA must settle for load shedding until December – Gordhan
Load shedding has had severe consequences for small businesses, leading to reduced production time, increased costs, and job losses.
City Power itself has been significantly affected, incurring daily losses of about R3.6 million due to equipment repairs and additional staff required for load shedding.
This week the Minister of Public Enterprises Pravin Gordhan said South Africa would have to endure a “significant order” of load shedding until the end of the year.
The minister said this on Tuesday while presenting his department’s budget vote to the National Assembly.
“We now know that we have to, as the population and the economy, settle for load shedding of a significant order until the end of the year, at least,” EWN quoted Gordhan as saying.
Gordhan emphasised the urgent need for new capacity and the extension of the grid to address the country’s power supply issues. He highlighted the government’s commitment to providing R254 billion in debt relief over the next three years to Eskom, aiming to support the power utility in achieving its strategic objectives of improving energy supply.
Eskom has been grappling with a shortage of capacity that could extend until August, posing a chilly outlook for the upcoming winter season. However, the government has said that it is working diligently to avoid stage 8 power cuts, assuring citizens that every effort will be made to maintain as much power generation as possible.
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