Molefe Seeletsa

By Molefe Seeletsa

Digital Journalist


‘EskomSePush’s load shedding time slots not correct’: City Power clarifies two-hour interval confusion

City Power will review its implementation schedule for stage 5 load shedding and above.


Electricity utility City Power says the confusion about the load shedding schedule for Johannesburg over the weekend was partly a result of inaccuracies reflected on the popular EskomSePush App.

South Africa has been experiencing a much higher intensity of rolling blackouts over the past week as the performance of Eskom’s power stations continues to deteriorate.

In light of this, City Power has received a number of complaints from Johannesburg residents about certain blocks experiencing frequent two-hour load shedding slots squeezed in the space of six to eight hours.

Miscommunication

In an interview on Monday, City Power chief executive officer (CEO) Tshifularo Mashava said the utility understood the frustrations and confusion of residents regarding the two-hour intervals.

Mashava explained that City Power was implementing a load shedding schedule of two-hour power cuts between stage 1 to stage 4 to lessen the impact of the rolling blackouts on the residents.

“It’s actually better for the customer and when we show the numbers you will be able to see it. What we can guarantee is that between the two stages at a worst case scenario, you’ll have [a break of] six hours in between and at the best case scenario, you’ll have 14 hours in between but that is stage 1 to stage 4,” the City Power CEO said.

She confirmed that City Power will review its implementation schedule for stage 5 load shedding and above.

“We are revising our decision of two hours in terms of higher stages so stage 5, 6, 7 and 8, if it happens. We have listened to customers that said ‘rather give me four hours than two hours and we are considering that. We do not want people to only have one and half hour or two hours of electricity in between if it is carrying on perpetually on a 24 hour basis.”

ALSO READ: Here’s how often the light will now be off under City Power’s load shedding schedule

Mashava highlighted that EskomSePush’s load shedding time slots was “not correct”.

“Some customers were sending us queries because they went to the EskomSePush app and it was communicating as if you only have one and a half hour or two hours in between,” she said.

She also squashed claims that some areas were experiencing prolonged load shedding.

“No, it’s not prolonged load shedding… you had an outage in between because let us not forget when we have load shedding there’s always theft and vandalism somewhere so the electricity is not [always] going to come back on.

“It doesn’t mean we have load shed you for four or six hours, it means we have got outages in between that we need to address. Let me reiterate that you are not going to get two hours break in between. I think there was also some form of miscommunication which unfortunately came from councillors which is not correct.”

Mashava did, however, acknowledge that there were challenges in the Randburg and Roodepoort areas.

“City Power has eight areas… and the outcry is definitely from the two areas. The reason we have got challenges in Roodepoort and Randburg, essentially, is because for the past three years we have been consistently reporting the highest rate of theft and vandalism in those areas.

“So our infrastructure is a mess because we got a lot of vandalised equipment that we are trying to do as much as we can in terms of repairs,” the CEO added.

City Power always in contact with Eskom

Mashava further addressed the comments made by Electricity Minister Kgosientsho Ramokgopa, where he seemingly laid the blame at City Power’s door for the load shedding schedules.

But the City Power CEO said the utility and Eskom were always in constant communication.

She said Eskom was aware that City Power would revise its own schedule.

“This is not a decision that was taken overnight. There were several meetings between Eskom and City Power,” Mashava said.

READ MORE: ‘We were never at stage 8,’ says electricity minister as Joburg residents cry foul

“There is no way that City Power or any other municipality would just go ahead and do their own thing. The regulations compel us to work together on load shedding,” she continued.

She clarified that City Power has always been running its own operations.

“We have got some intake points that Eskom was load shedding on our behalf which is not all of them. We have got over 300 substations at City Power and we [are] talking about less than 50 intake points that Eskom does have the capability to switch them on and off on our behalf,” Mashava said.

Meanwhile, stage 4 load shedding is expected to run until 5am on Saturday, Eskom confirmed on Monday afternoon.

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