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Tips to prepare for Eskom’s load-shedding Stage 4

Customers are advised to follow the City of Cape Town's tips to prepare for Eskom's load-shedding Stage 4 which is currently under way until 06:00 tomorrow 7 December 2019. Damage caused by power surges is also avoidable. Customers are urged to remain on high alert over the weekend.

It is important to be energy-wise and to be as prepared as possible for Eskom's load-shedding. The City is trying its best to keep its customers informed about load-shedding as timeously as possible but notification is received at short notice.

Be prepared

Communication: Ensure that your cell phone, laptop, tablet and radio are always fully charged when power is available. This will allow you to be able to communicate with friends and family during load-shedding

Transport: Make sure that your vehicle always has fuel in the tank as most petrol stations are unable to pump fuel during power outages

Cash: Keep some cash on you as ATMs cannot operate without electricity

Security and safety: Backup batteries for electric gates, garage doors and security systems should be kept in a good working condition and be able to last through periods of load-shedding. Store temporary lighting such as battery-powered torches, gas lamps and candles in places where they will be easy to find in the dark

Eating: If you do not have a gas stove, prepare meals before the power is scheduled to be switched off. Boil water in your kettle and keep it in thermos flasks for hot drinks. You can also use an insulating cover on teapots, pots and pans to keep drinks and meals warm

Medication: Most medication requiring refrigeration can be kept in a closed fridge for several hours without spoiling, but you should check with your doctor or pharmacist if in doubt

Traffic lights: Intersections with traffic lights that are not working because of load-shedding should be treated as four-way-stops. The motorist who stops first may proceed first if the way is clear and safe to do so. Please stay calm and follow defensive driving techniques

Avoid power surges and nuisance tripping: If you know that your area will be affected by load-shedding, switch off appliances, geysers, pool pumps, air conditioners, lights and other electrical equipment to reduce the risk of damage caused when the power comes back on. Nuisance tripping can also occur and sometimes City teams will have to reset substations manually to restore power to a particular area. This might add to the length of time that it takes to restore power after load-shedding has been suspended. If in a City-supplied area and an outage carries on for longer than the scheduled load-shedding outage, please log a call for assistance. Often, customers mistake nuisance tripping for prolonged load-shedding

Be energy-wise

Switch off those appliances that you don't need

Switch off your geyser and only switch it on for up to two hours per day. This will save a lot of electricity and it will save you money

Delay switching on lights and appliances until after the peak periods (between 17:00 and 21:00) whenever possible

Switch off your pool pump, geyser and other large electrical equipment, and never run both at the same time

Adjust air conditioners to 23 degrees Celsius if you need to use them

Visit www.SavingElectricity.org.za for more tips to save electricity and follow load-shedding developments on www.capetown.gov.za/loadshedding

All options explored

'All options continue to be explored to see if the City can protect its customers where possible on the lower stages of load-shedding but our hands are really tied in the higher stages of load-shedding. We have limited use of gas turbines which we are using to help for short periods in the lower stages of load-shedding. For instance, yesterday when Eskom announced load-shedding effective immediately, the City held off implementing load-shedding until 16:00 giving customers an hour or two to prepare where possible. This intervention is not always possible but we are trying our best,' said the City's Mayoral Committee Member for Energy and Climate Change, Councillor Phindile Maxiti.

Steenbras Hydro-electric Power Scheme maintenance

The City was able to protect most of its customers during the lower stages of load-shedding until 25 October 2019 due to spare generation capacity from its 160 MW Steenbras Hydro-electric Power Scheme.

'We have worked our hydro plant hard and postponed major maintenance where possible to assist during load-shedding. However, as load-shedding became a more permanent fixture of life in South Africa, we found that we could not postpone necessary maintenance indefinitely seeing as load-shedding was continuing. In other words, there has been no down-time for load-shedding so no opportunity to do the maintenance when we could be certain of no load-shedding. We have no control over when load-shedding happens. It is vital for work to continue now so as to ensure that there is the possibility of additional generation before the start of the winter months of 2020 and that this vital asset is adequately maintained and in top working condition. The maintenance operation is massive and is expected to continue until May 2020,' said Councillor Maxiti.

It is taking place in phases so as to ensure that it is done in the time of year when power usage is lower. The duration for normal maintenance operations of this scale is usually between five and seven years. The maintenance would ideally have had a minimal impact on City-supplied customers were it not for load-shedding.

Planning is very much linked to operating the plant more during winter months and servicing the power station in summer months. This is because the Steenbras power station is not meant to be a base station.

Maintenance operations

Maintenance includes work on the tunnel and penstock connection of the Steenbras Upper Dam and the power station

The tunnel and penstock consists of concrete and steel portions. The steel section is protected to prevent corrosion as the tunnel is designed to transport water to the power station

It entails removing the old paint and relining the tunnel and penstock. Because of the high risk nature of the work inside the tunnel, there is a special emphasis on executing the work safely and ensuring the application of the new paint and coating is done at the highest standard and quality

The first part of the maintenance work which was conducted from January to April 2019 was for inspection and assessment of the work required to be done

Source: City Of Cape Town

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