South Africa: 'Load Reduction' - Infrastructure Failures Lead to Rolling Outages in Gauteng Townships

analysis

Eskom has been regularly cutting power to many of Gauteng's townships and informal settlements for more than a month as energy infrastructure has been in decline while usage has increased.

In just the last four days, Eskom has periodically shut off power to large parts of Gauteng, including areas in Soweto, the West Rand, Roodepoort, the Vaal, Katlehong, Vosloorus, Ivory Park, Ga-Rankuwa, Hammanskraal, Soshanguve, Benoni, Nigel and Brakpan.

The power utility has been cutting the electricity supply to areas across the province, largely in townships and informal settlements, during peak demand periods, 5-9 in the morning and 5-10 in the evening to protect infrastructure from overloading.

The "load reduction" programme - Eskom is adamant it's not load shedding - was introduced on 13 May. The power utility's Motlhabane Ramashi, senior manager for maintenance and operations in Gauteng, called the move "unprecedented".

"It's not that they don't have enough supply," said Professor Anton Eberhard from the University of Cape Town's Graduate School of Business, distinguishing load shedding and the current programme in Gauteng.

"The equipment just can't handle the high loads."

Load shedding is implemented nationwide when energy demand exceeds generating capacity. The load reduction programme seeks to address localised distribution...

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