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DA leader John Steenhuisen. Picture: WERNER HILLS
DA leader John Steenhuisen. Picture: WERNER HILLS

The DA says it is working on making six municipalities it runs in the Western Cape “load-shedding proof” by reducing their reliance on power utility Eskom.

This is one of the promises the party made in its manifesto launched by party leader John Steenhuisen at a virtual event on Saturday.

“In the section on electricity provision, you will learn of the DA’s mission to make six pilot municipalities in the Western Cape load-shedding proof in what we call the energy resilience project,” said Steenhuisen. 

“These municipalities are putting in place measures that will enable them to procure electricity directly from suppliers and ultimately end their reliance on Eskom altogether.”

The City of Cape Town already manages to avoid at least one stage of load-shedding, compared with the rest of the country, through its pumped storage hydropower station at the Steenbras Dam, said Steenhuisen.

The virtual launch of the DA local government election manifesto on September 25. Picture: SUPPLIED
The virtual launch of the DA local government election manifesto on September 25. Picture: SUPPLIED

“Thanks to previous infrastructure investment in Africa’s first hydroelectric pumped storage scheme, this city-owned and operated power station can generate electricity during peak periods to make up for the supply shortfall from Eskom,” according to the manifesto.

It said the innovation by the city mitigates the economic impact and inconvenience of load-shedding and saves on the cost of buying electricity at peak rates. 

“When national government fails and the lights go out, the DA innovates to keep the lights on.”

It said the party now wants to reduce reliance on Eskom in six other municipalities — Stellenbosch, Drakenstein, Mossel Bay, Overstrand, Saldanha Bay and Swartland.

The municipalities would take advantage of new regulations to buy energy directly from independent power producers.

“The [energy resilience] project will help municipalities understand the requirements of the new national energy regulations and mitigate related risks, as well as provide for network and operational capacity requirements for energy project development and procurement by municipalities,” the DA said.