CITY OF CAPE TOWN 15 JUNE 2018 MEDIA RELEASE Eskom implements shock load shedding


Eskom has declared a power system emergency at extremely short notice and implemented load shedding for the second time in less than 24 hours. Read more below:


The City of Cape Town advises residents that it is able to operate the schedule as before, and avert low levels of load shedding if consumption remains low. Residents are however advised to be prepared for periods without power.


Due to spare generation capacity available at the Steenbras pumped storage scheme at the time, residents of Cape Town were spared the first two blocks of outages, between 12:00-14:00 and 14:00-16:00 as these were applicable to off-peak times. But when consumption increases during peak periods it is likely that power will need to be conserved. Residents are advised to familiarize themselves with the schedule available on the City’s website to know when to expect their area to be without power and to prepare accordingly.


‘We are entirely dependent on Eskom informing us of what their generation capacity will be so unfortunately we are at this point unable to provide residents with more detailed information on what to expect. However we believe that there is a risk that load shedding will continue to be implemented throughout the next week,’ said Cllr Xanthea Limberg, Mayoral Committee Member for Informal Settlements, Water and Waste Services; and Energy.


‘Our teams were given a few minutes’ notice yesterday evening that they would need to trigger load shedding operations, and this was amidst conflicting messages from the parastatal, so we urge residents to be on guard and prepared for this eventuality at all times.


‘We ask that residents please do everything possible to keep consumption to a minimum. If residents are using a lot of energy then there is not much left to spare of the Steenbras surplus. We are especially grateful for the power generated by the Steenbras pumped storage scheme as it allowed our Muslim residents to celebrate Eid without having to sit down to a cold lunch.


‘We further ask that residents please do not phone the call centre about power outage unless more than 30 minutes has passed beyond the scheduled period for their area, as this will overload the staff.


‘We are hopeful that, given the typically reduced loads of consumption over the weekend, we will not need to resort to load shedding. We will continue to monitor the situation and our electricity control centre remains on standby. We will continue to do everything possible to reduce the impact on Cape Town’s residents,’ said Cllr Limberg


Preparing for an outage


·         Charge your phone

·         Fill your tank – petrol station pumps don’t work during outages

·         Have some cash handy as ATMs won’t work

·         Switch electric garage doors and security gates to manual operation

·         Make sure you have torches, batteries, candles and matches, and put them somewhere where they can be easily found in the dark

·         Keep boiled water in a thermos flask for hot drinks


Outage Tips:

Switch off and unplug all electronics and appliances when the power is due to go off as it may come back with a spike in the voltage, which can damage electronic devices such as computers, television sets, DVD players, etc.


If your electricity remains off for longer than the period specified in the schedule, SMS 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 of Cape Town will communicate further as and when more information becomes available.


Please find your area schedule for download at the following link:


The new Electricity Tariffs and the issue of Pre-Paid meters:
If you currently have a credit meter and you want a prepaid meter which has some benefits (eg the R250 charge is not separate, and you might qualify for the ‘Lifeline’ tariff), then you wait for the replacement program to be rolled out to your area.
In our case, Tamboerskloof, Gardens, and Vredehoek will be done in March 2018, and Oranjezicht only in September 2018 (note there is no such official Council area as Higgovale).
If you want to get a prepaid meter before the official installation phase then it is going to cost you the charges as set out in the City Council website.
TOP 10 best ways to save electricity at home:
No cost options- simple behaviour change
Turn geyser temperature down to 60deg Celsius 
Maintaining the temperature at 60oC uses less electricity (energy) than maintaining a temperature of 70oC. Works best when geyser and pipes are insulated. Don’t drop it below 60oC for health reasons. In most cases, the thermostat is located in the little cover over the electrical element of the geyser. Switch off the electricity circuit at the mains, undo the cover, and then turn down the thermostat using a screw driver. Or hire a plumber to help you (for safety reasons, make sure you tell those in the house that you are switching off the electricity for this purpose).

Use less hot water
For example shower instead of bath, and take shorter showers. Only fill the kettle as much as you need it. Wash a full load of dishes, rather than one dish at a time. Use cold water where possible for laundry washing. 

Switch off equipment when not in use
Turn appliances off at the wall plug, rather than leaving them on standby as this can still draw about 20% or more of normal electricity use. (Examples are TVs, music systems, computers, phone chargers etc.) Also turn the geyser off when you go on holiday.

Reduce pool pump operating hours
If you have a pool with a cleaning system pump, reduce its operating hours to the minimum e.g. 6 hours a day. Clean filters regularly, and consider a pool cover and turning off the pump at times in winter.

Reduce excessive heating or cooling
Space heating in winter is a big power ‘guzzler’, and the same for summer cooling for those homes with cooling systems. Use localised equipment rather than central air-conditioning or heating systems, and only heat or cool occupied rooms. The room temperature should not be more than 10 degrees (Celsius) more or less than the outside/ ambient temperature. Fan or oil heaters with thermostats are best, and avoid under-floor heating. In summer use a fan rather than air-conditioning. But rather than use equipment at all, the best ‘no cost’ saving options are things like wearing warmer clothing and using blankets in winter or opening the windows in summer.

Low cost options- investing under R1000
Install an efficient shower head
Cape Town water bylaws limit shower flow rates to no more than 10 litres per minute. To test this at home, hold a bucket under the showerhead for 12 seconds. Measure the amount of water within the bucket with a measuring jug. If there is more than 2 litres then your showerhead is inefficient. A good, modern product will save both water and electricity without compromising your shower experience, and the saving usually pays back the investment within a few weeks or months. See www.eskomidm.co.za for approved suppliers.

Insulate the geyser
A geyser ‘blanket’ maximises heat retention. Check heat loss first using a basic ‘hand test’. If the geyser is warm then it’s losing heat and needs better insulation. Particularly necessary for older geysers. Appoint a good installer or do a thorough job yourself, and check the insulation is still in place after a few days/ weeks because installation isn’t always straightforward and can come undone. Also insulate the water pipes leading from the geyser for the first 3 metres. See www.eskomidm.co.za for approved suppliers.

Install efficient lighting
Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFLs) use 75% less power than old incandescent bulbs, and last much longer. Note that CFLs contain small amounts of harmful chemicals, so please dispose of them safely. Best is to take them to safe ‘drop off’ points e.g. at retailers like Woolworths or Pick n Pay. New ‘light-emitting diodes’, or LEDs, are even more efficient than CFLs, and last 130 times longer than CFL bulbs. They have limited applications in homes at this stage, but are ideal replacements for halogen down-lighting. They save the most, and although they may be currently expensive the cost is coming down as the technology develops. Of course, switching off lights in unoccupied rooms is also an obvious way to save.

Invest to save: 
Install a solar water heater
This can save the most electricity of all. It typically saves about two thirds of water heating cost, but this varies and it should be installed with a timer for the best possible saving. With rising electricity tariffs, and the new subsidies from Eskom (see www.eskomidm.co.za), the payback period is now no more than 5 years. Install a heat pump as an alternative, if a solar water heater is not possible. Heat pumps can achieve similar savings but they are a new technology for homes, so they are not well tested yet and may require more maintenance than a solar water heater.

Insulate the ceiling/ roof
A ceiling and good roof insulation can keep the home 5 degrees (Celsius) warmer in winter, and 10 degrees cooler in summer. More comfortable indoor temperatures mean less need for electrical heating and cooling, with savings of about 75% for adding both a ceiling and insulation, or 25% for just adding insulation (if there is already a ceiling). Insulating other parts of the house also helps (e.g. stopping heat loss through windows or under doors), but the highest savings are from roof insulation.

Other important advice:
Measure and monitor your home electricity consumption and costs.
Educate everyone in the home, including children and domestic helpers.
Remember that saving requires both behaviour and equipment. E.g. it’s no use installing an efficient shower head if you then shower for twice as long.
This information is provided by the City of Cape Town, based on research about the most impactful and cost-effective ways to save electricity in mid-to-high income households.
For more information contact sarah.ward@capetown.gov.za, or visit the City's electricity saving campaign website: www.savingelectricity.org.za.
CIBRA Cape Town,
Sep 16, 2018, 6:23 AM