Lengthy load shedding causes chaos

Eskom said that extended power cuts are caused by a high demand in electricity once the scheduled load shedding ends.

Eskom has asked residents to wait at least 30 minutes after

load shedding to avoid power trips.

This comes after residents from Milnerton, Table View, Blouberg

and Melkbos complained about lengthy load shedding hours, over the past two weeks. They say that when the schedules say power cuts would only last for two-and-a-half hours, on some occasions, they are left in the dark for more than four hours.

Some residents say that their appliances and home electrical

wiring have been damaged by the power going on and off.

In Joe Slovo and Dunoon, residents say these irregular power

cuts cost more than just damaged appliances because so often, they can cause fires.

Sibongile Bam, from Site 5, said in many informal settlements,

unreliable electricity outages mixed with illegal connections can

be blamed for some of the fires that occur.

“These tragedies can not only be blamed on residents from informal settlements. Eskom and the Cityof Cape Town need to take responsibility as well.

That’s a slap in the face. Eskom needs to sort out whatever their

problem is,” said Mr Bam.

On Thursday September 3, Eskom announced that there would

be stage 4 load shedding. This meant that in some areas, electricity would go off at least three times a day. In parts of Table View for example, the power would be out from 2am to

4.30am, 10am to 12.30pm and again at 6pm to 8.30pm.

Flamingo Vlei resident, Joseph Healy, said his power only came back on after 10pm that evening after it had gone off at 6pm.

“Saying this is unacceptable, is an understatement. How is it possible that we can be without power for four hours? What do we pay taxes and electricity tariffs for?

“This is not just a safety concern regarding what might happen if one of my appliances were to explode, but this is also very unsafe because criminals could take advantage because the City and Eskom are unreliable,” said Mr Healy.

Melkos resident Brendan Ewer said they had nervous moments

when the lights were out.

“We have a generator and this is probably what helps us. Our cameras catch people walking around in the early hours of the morning. We can only assume that these people are looking for any properties they can enter because they know that people’s security systems are down,” he said.

Some residents even have running jokes when the power fails to

come back on. They’d joke and say “the Eskom guy in charge of the switch must be asleep and forgot about them”. But overall, residents aren’t happy.

Much like last week Thursday, the same thing happened on Tuesday August 18, where electricity took long to come back after load shedding.

According to Eskom spokesman, Kyle Cookson, these interruptions are due to what they call cold load restoration.

“Cold load takes place when a distribution circuit is re-energised following an extended outage, where the current is high enough to cause a rapid overcurrent (load surge) that may cause the electricity supply to trip. Technicians worked around the clock to restore supply using a challenging switching sequence.

However, experienced delays due to the overload while busy normalising the network and supply was eventually restored the following morning,” he said.

Mr Cookson advised that when electricity has been restored, customers should wait at least 30 minutes before switching on appliances like geysers and pool pumps to avoid the possible tripping of electricity.

According to Phindile Maxiti, mayoral committee member for

energy and climate change, these unplanned outages across the metro can be a result of bad weather and Covid-19 regulation.

“Residents may also be experiencing outages when power is

restored after load-shedding, referred to as nuisance tripping.

This is when the power is restored to an area and fails to come back on in some parts.

“The power outage often goes unreported because residents

assume that it is due to load shedding,” he said.

Mr Maxiti encouraged residents to reduce electricity use

by leaving one light on to indicate the return of the supply. He

added that load-shedding outages that exceed two-and-a-half

hours in one go must be treated as unplanned outages and these

must be reported via the City’s service channels.

The City’s call centre number is 0860 103 089 or email power@

capetown.gov.za