Government would like to assure the Nation that Eskom is doing everything it can to reduce prolonged risks of load shedding.
The municipality obtains electricity from the Utility Eskom for its own consumption/utilization and supply to consumers in the distribution region. Eskom power systems remains tight and volatile, and utility will be implementing stage 4 load shedding today.
As the municipality is also both a Water Service Authority and Water Service Provider responsible for the provisioning of water and sewerage services within its boundaries. In the recent past days the Utility Eskom, announced that it is embarking on load shedding and load curtailment stage 4 (Eskom Power System Emergency) throughout the country due to challenges it is faced on the power generation side. This amongst other reasons it means that there is a need to load shed about 4000 MW of energy from the National grid.
For the municipality it means that the main intake points namely:
- Grobbler substation,
- Buffer substation,
- Kwa Guqa substation,
- Doornpoort substation,
- Ga Nala and Ogies/Phola substations
Will need to be switched off during those stipulated times of load shedding and load curtailment. These substations provides electricity to vast areas within the municipality such as residential, business, Industries, hospitals, clinics, municipal buildings and facilities like water and sewer plants.
The infrastructure configuration of the municipality is such that the critical facilities such as water treatment plants, command water distribution reservoirs and sewer treatment plants are integrated and not supplied with electricity separately. This arrangement makes it difficult to ensure that they always have power supply during load shedding as a results water supply is interrupted. The available alternate/emergency electricity supply is by means of generators which has limited capacity and only at specific areas.
The municipal water supply is already experiencing challenges thus operating on a brink and this electricity cuts will worsen the situation. The pumping, purification and distribution of water is affected as electrical supply is a necessity in water supply. Water supply restoration and stabilization takes long time as the system dries out quickly due to existing deficit and poses a risk of pipe breakages due to air ingress in the system. The sewerage handling and treatment is also affected which will result in sewer blockages.
The municipality is in constant contact with officials and Customer Executive from Eskom as and when load shedding needs to be executed in order to prioritize areas to be switched off with critical installation borne in mind given the amount of power to be load shed.
The water supply through water tankers is also affected as the collection points does not have water too. Critical and emergency facilities such as hospitals, clinics, schools, malls and complexes are urged to ensure that their emergency electrical supplies (generators) and water supply storages are in use.
It has also been observed that during load shedding, the municipal infrastructure is vandalized which makes it difficult to supply electricity when load shedding is complete. The municipality will within available means attend to all complaints as reported to reinstate the service and avoid possible diseases outbreak.
It is against the above background that all communities are urged to help reduce and use water sparingly, report water leaks and sewer blockages and treat all electrical points as live during load shedding.
Issued by Emalahleni Local Municipality Communication Unit
18 March 2019.