As of February 1 2015, the City of Cape Town will be implementing a new load shedding schedule as, and when, load shedding is declared by Eskom.
The current load shedding schedule using the days of the week was first implemented in 2008 and has been regularly updated since. It was designed specifically for occasional load shedding during peak demand times, which has been the norm since 2008.
However, since the latter weeks of last year, Eskom’s national control centre declared load shedding on a regular basis and over weekends. This has led to a situation where some residents repeatedly experienced scheduled power outages at the most inconvenient times and days of the week.
In order to address this matter, the City has set up a new load shedding schedule that provides a more frequent rotation and is to be implemented in accordance with the days of the month instead.
"With this new schedule, the City will ensure that residents always experience scheduled power outages at a different time and weekday than before, thereby rotating the inconvenience of power outages across all supply areas," said the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Utility Services, councillor Ernest Sonnenberg.
From February 1st 2015 the City will be implementing load shedding according to this new schedule when it is instructed to do so by Eskom.
An insert with the new load shedding schedule and an area map of the different supply areas across the city will be distributed with community newspapers during the last week of January 2015.
Residents are advised to keep these and to refer to the schedule and the map so that they can take the necessary precautions whenever load shedding is required by Eskom.
Furthermore, the new schedule and area map will be published on the City’s website as from February 1 2015 so that residents have immediate access to the latest information.
If a resident’s electricity supply remains off for longer than the period specified in the schedule, they should send an SMS to the City’s technical operations centre on 31220.The restoration of power sometimes results in what is described as "nuisance tripping," which often goes unreported due to the assumption that the outage is due to load shedding.
The City has also developed a mobile version of the load shedding page which residents can access by selecting the new tab on the City’s mobile homepage.
Individual detailed maps of the different areas are also available in PDF and JPG format. By selecting the area numbers of the PDF area map, residents will be able to view their individual areas.
"Load shedding is declared by Eskom as a measure of last resort to prevent a country-wide collapse of the power system. Eskom’s national control centre instructs municipal electricity control centres country-wide when to implement load shedding and at what stage. This situation is, therefore, completely beyond the City’s control,’ said Sonnenberg.
Load shedding is implemented in stages depending on the extent of the shortage of generation capacity to meet the country’s electricity demand, with stage 1 being the least serious and stage 3b being the most serious.
The scheduled electricity outages generally last for about 2.5 hours, with one area being affected at a time during stage 1 and four areas being affected at a time during stage 3b.
Residents are advised to switch off all electronics and appliances when the power is due to go off.
"Sometimes, when power is restored, there is the potential for it to come back with a spike in the voltage, which can be damaging to electronic devices such as computers, television sets and DVD players. Residents can take precautions by ensuring that these appliances are not only turned off, but also unplugged throughout the load shedding period,’ said Sonnenberg.