Stephen Tau
Digital Reporter
2 minute read
4 Jul 2022
4:53 pm

KZN told to brace for load shedding after exemption

Stephen Tau

The eThekwini municipality risked further damage to infrastructure if it had implemented load shedding.

Picture: iStock

The devastating floods which ripped through different parts of KwaZulu-Natal in recent months left a trail of destruction – not only for households, but also for infrastructure.

This then led to Eskom and the eThekwini municipality entering into an agreement, which will soon see the municipality implement load shedding.

While most parts of KwaZulu-Natal were hit hard by the floods, it was areas that fall under the eThekwini municipality that suffered the most damage, particularly to infrastructure.

In April this year, an extremely severe weather system triggered floods as over 300mm of rainfall fell over a 24-hour period in KwaZulu-Natal. The government formally declared a national disaster in the aftermath of the storm.

Key infrastructure, including roads, bridges as well as electricity and water infrastructure, have been severely damaged.

Eskom and the municipality’s electricity division met on several occasions since the devastating floods to try and manage the risk. On several occasions, the municipality indicated that in order to mitigate any further risks, and potential damages to infrastructure, it was unable to implement load shedding.

“There is agreement that the integrity of the electrical infrastructure was so severely compromised, that if parts of the infrastructure and loads were to trip either through a manual intervention (load shedding) or an electrical fault, it is possible and likely that the municipality grid could be even more severely damaged,” Eskom and the municipality said in a statement.

Studies also indicated that the municipality lost 50% (between 700MW to 800MW) of electrical load on their infrastructure after the disaster. To date, a significant portion of this load has not been restored and will continue to be off the grid until extensive repairs are carried out.

The municipality has agreed on the process for the soonest implementation of load shedding to assist the power utility to mitigate the risk of a national grid collapse.