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Restricting load shedding to residential areas was a recommendation which came out of the SACCI proposals

On Wednesday, the South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SACCI) released a list of recommendations for improving the country’s current power situation and how best to manage load shedding.

In January, SACCI invited its members to submit proposals of recommendations to be considered between SACCI and the state-owned power utility Eskom.

According to SACCI the proposals were submitted to the energy War Room and to the power utility on the understanding that it was probable that not all were viable and implementable, depending on circumstances.

A comment by the President of SACCI Vusi Khumalo, said that some of the biggest companies in the country have suggested to Eskom that only residential areas be cut off during load shedding to allow industry to grow the economy, Radio 702 reported.

Independent Energy Analyst, Ted Blom commented: “I think it's a fantastic idea and it's nice to see business apply their minds to the power crisis.”

He added: “And we would need a smart grid because the grid currently is integrated between domestic and industrial consumers. Households consume roughly 30% of available power, and given the daily 30GW produced by Eskom, domestic use is around 8GW.”

Earlier this year, ESI reported on these proposals, have been categorised into short, medium and long term solutions as follows:

Immediate (one to three weeks)

  • Allow business to operate in shifts without the need to compensate labour for work outside normal hours – some businesses to operate from 08h00 to 16h00, others 16h00 to 24h00 and others 24h00 to 08h00. This was done in China by government decree. We could consider a proclamation.
  • Introduce a three shift system at Medupi and Kusile to speed up their entry into the grid.
  • Divide the country into four time zones as a temporary solution with KZN and Mpumalanga business starting and ending an hour earlier than usual, moving westwards with central areas operating at normal times, and the far Western Cape and Northern Cape starting and ending an hour later than usual. This can be done voluntarily or by proclamation.
  • Because of the impact that load shedding has on economic growth, keep it to residential areas (during the day) and ensure that commerce and industry can continue to operate.
  • Promulgate the Independent System and Market Operator (ISMO) Bill.
  • Reassess the categorisation of the power station into A, B and C. Place priority on category A maintenance and get those power stations up to peak capacity even if it means taking out a unit to achieve this. Category B should be the next priority, and category C attended to as the lowest priority.
  • Commence with implementation of the priority maintenance.
  • Stick to advertised load shedding schedules.
  • Convene an Electricity Summit where solutions can be discussed.

Medium Term (four weeks to three months)

  • Get all industries that generate their own power to sell to the grid immediately
  • Deal with electricity theft
  • Collect outstanding debt owed to municipalities by consumers
  • Add to capacity by generating off-shore, using barges off the coast
  • Implement power generation from waste operations by private sector operators and at municipal level
  • Proceed with the implementation of the priority maintenance

Long Term

  • Privatise Eskom
  • Invite foreign investors to build power stations – ranging from nuclear to solar to wind generation
  • Investigate municipal funding to come up with a model that reduces the reliance on cross-subsidisation of services from income from electricity