The collapse of electricity infrastructure in Johannesburg is taking a toll on its residents and also on the national economy. On July 1, electricity tariffs in the city will increase by 14.59%.
First published in the Daily Maverick 168 weekly newspaper.
For many Johannesburg residents, electricity is more often off than on. City Power says there were 1,407 power cuts from January 2021 to 28 May - excluding Eskom load shedding. The water and electricity systems run in tandem, and power cuts lead to water cuts because reservoirs need to be restarted. The latest City Power quarterly report says that load shedding has further damaged infrastructure because the constant stopping and starting of power stations cause surges.
Power cuts are even more regular than water shedding in the city. In April, Daily Maverick counted 276 instances of suburb, township and informal settlement outages on the City Power social media account on Twitter, which has become the main way for residents to report and get progress (see graphic). Some of these were repeated complaints from the same area, but it gives a sense of the scale of the crisis electricity increasingly poses for residents.
City Power says there have been 1,407...