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City Power has announced a range of “stringent measures” in areas across the city to reduce electricity consumption, which it says has reached “critical levels”, and protect the grid from total collapse.

This as the country enjoys a record 72 days without load-shedding, a feat last accomplished between December 2021 and February 2022.

On Sunday the utility said it would implement ripple relay systems, which would cut electricity supply to geysers in homes where the system was under threat, intensify cut-off operations where there were illegal connections and introduce load reduction at “substations with higher consumption and those under threat”.

“While other measures such as ripple relay and cutoffs of illegal connections are under way to relieve the severe strain on our electricity network due to a massive increase in energy demand, City Power will implement load reduction starting June 10 2024.

“Load reduction will be implemented during peak times from 6am to 10am and 4pm to 10pm in high-density areas and suburbs with concerning usage levels that threaten to overload electricity equipment. Load-limiting, through smart meters, will also be implemented in July to further assist customers to save energy without switching them off completely.”

City Power said the decision to initiate load reduction came after failed efforts to encourage residents to lower consumption in affected areas. It said it had recorded an “enormous increase” in the average evening peak load in some affected areas, which increased by 65% from the summer months.

"[This went] from 25MW during the summer months to 33MW between April and May 2024. In some instances, the load reaches 42MW, constituting a 110% increase in consumption levels in comparison with the warmer season. During January and March this year, the average off-peak consumption at some substations has been sitting at 20MW. Between April and May, consumption shot up by 50%, increasing the off-peak load to 30MW,” City Power said.

The utility said residents had not reduced consumption, despite warnings about the city’s constrained network.

“Part of our measures to lighten the load on the grid through load reduction includes the installation of ripple relays.

The substations are in Mondeor, Mulbarton, Morningside and Bryanston.

Speaking about load reduction, City Power said it would be implemented in places “where the load exceeds the designated maximum capacity of our transformers, transmission lines or cables”.

This would affect more than 80 areas, which the utility said would be grouped into six blocks that would be affected for two-and-a-half hours at most.

These are: Mountain View, Thembelihle, Princess, Pimville Zone 9, Pennyville, Precast, Freedom Park, Alexandra, Slovo, Matholesville, Naturena, Lawley, Tshepisong, Kliptown Vlakfontein, Klipfontein and Mayibuye.

“The schedule will be implemented during peak hours in the mornings between 4am and 10am and the evenings between 4pm and 10pm. Each block will have its power supply switched off for two-and-a-half hours daily until the network stabilises.

“City Power is implementing load reduction as the last resort, an urgent and unavoidable necessity to protect electricity infrastructure from overloading, which can lead to the equipment exploding or catching fire  and resulting in prolonged widespread outages. Delays will incur in repairing the damage and replacing equipment. Residents are reminded that though load-shedding is suspended until further notice, should it be reinstated, load reduction will continue parallel to load-shedding.”


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