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By Cheryl Kahla

Content Strategist

Businesses offering millions to reduce load-shedding

Like everyone in Middelburg, businesses and factories want no load-shedding at all.

But the sector knows that sacrifices will not only allow them to keep production going but assist them greatly with mitigating avoidable losses, with the submission of a noble plan to guarantee power predictability, which will boost the town’s economy.

While the national energy regulator is mulling new electricity increases, load-shedding is becoming less predictable and more frequent.

The municipality can stop this, and the authority is in the process of installing a self-switching system, with the first phase at the Gholfsig substation underway.
The second phase, which will start from the new financial year in July, will see both the Aerorand- and Verdoorn Street substations connected to the system.

The entire system will cost around R25 million, with R11 million already spent on phase 1.

Organised businesses have committed to a 12-hour off period on Mondays and Tuesdays, but they’re also willing to open their wallets to expedite the installation of phase 2.

According to the Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s formal request to the council, sitting on March 28, businesses have also proposed the “immediate” implementation of the self-switching system “through the cooperation of business and government”.

“The organised business community is proposing a collective financing programme, by the business community, to expedite the purchase of the components of SCADA phase 2.”

The Chamber is negotiating with interested businesses to fund phase 2 in return for a reduction in rates and taxes.

Rebates will, however, have a definite impact on municipal revenue collection and ultimately the new budget, which will be adopted in the new financial year starting in July.

Such a concession by the municipality will require adherence to all applicable municipal finance management and procurement legislation.

Furthermore, the council will also have to be fully on board, with the Chamber hoping for the implementation of the load-shedding agreement by April 1.

The municipality has, meanwhile, announced that with self-switching, the Vaalbank Water Treatment Plant and pump stations will have a permanent power supply to ensure water availability.

The Chamber has also offered additional technicians to help with manual load-shedding if the municipality agrees to the industrial load-shedding agreement.

Currently, the town sheds 79MVS during load-shedding when much less is required by Eskom.

• The SCADA system combines both software and hardware to create a control system that is referred to as automation technology.