Loadshedding is set to continue throughout this weekend and will last until at least Thursday morning next week. Eskom yesterday announced loadshedding after a two-month lull.

The cash-strapped power utility says in a statement that boiler leaks and conveyer belt problems at the Tutuka plant as well as breakdowns at Kusile, Komati and Hendrina have necessitated the extension of loadshedding all the way until Thursday next week.

Eskom says it will be working hard to restore capacity and has appealed to people to save electricity.

Dealing with power supply challenges

Johannesburg Mayor, Mpho Moerane says the challenges around electricity provision by Eskom in some areas, created an urgency for the city to enter into a new Power Purchase Agreement with Kelvin Power Station.

The city says the independent power producer will play an essential role in supplying additional electricity to Johannesburg households and businesses. The city wants to take over electricity provision in areas, currently serviced by Eskom.

Moerane says the metro’s residents have been faced with a number of electricity challenges, which include prolonged outages in recent months.

The city’s 20-year agreement with Kelvin Power Station comes to an end in November. The new agreement will see the independent power utility supplying the city for another two years.

This will help Johannesburg to keep the lights on, even when Eskom implements loadshedding.

Some of the areas in need of electricity are Soweto, Ivory Park, Orange Farm, Finetown, Diepsloot, and Sandton.

Moerane says Kelvin can generate a reliable electricity supply for the next two years.

“Previously, we had received 80 Megawatts from Kelvin. However, we will now be receiving 100 Megawatts more, making the total output from the power station 180 Megawatts.”

The city wants to take over the electricity supply from Eskom. A memorandum of understanding has been signed.

“One of the reasons we are taking over Soweto and other areas is that we understand them. We provide water, we collect refuse, we fix roads, and we know who we are dealing with. Our councillors have contact with the community. People in Soweto pay for their water. why wouldn’t they pay for electricity? We want the people of Soweto, Alexandra, Ivory Park, Sandton, and Finetown to have a reliable and quality supply of electricity.”

But, the mayor says the city does not have money to pay the R7.5 billion Eskom debt owed by Soweto residents.

Negotiations could be tricky and protracted.

“We have signed an MOU. There is a debt of R7.5 billion and I want to make it clear that the city doesn’t have R7.5 billion. Now, we have to include National Treasury, Cogta, Eskom and sit together and see how we can resolve it. Obviously, we are going into Soweto to take over but we can’t take over the burden of the debt. But we want to help the people of Soweto. We want to help Eskom as well. People of Soweto will get smart meters.”