City of Joburg to ditch Eskom to keep the lights on

November 16, 2022 0 By Cypher9ja

After losing R300 million a day to load shedding, the City of Joburg multi-party government is gatvol and has announced that City Power has secured electricity from alternative energy sources through short-term power purchase agreements of up to 36 months to keep the lights on.

The city of Joburg made the announcement, which is expected to be welcomed by residents as they continue to battle with the deliberate power cuts imposed by Eskom with no reprieve in sight, on Tuesday.

Ending blackouts

Reinstated Johannesburg mayor Mpho Phalatse said the positive step towards mitigating and eventually ending rolling blackouts follows commitments made at the two-day Joburg Energy Indaba convened in April 2022.

“The Requests for Proposal (RFP) were published this morning, signaling a clear start for Joburg as we embark on the journey of securing reliable, sustainable and affordable energy that will keep the economy running and the lights on, thus sustaining and improving lives and livelihoods.”

“A city whose contribution to the national economy is almost 16%, while making up 40% of Gauteng’s economy, cannot be left without energy for hours on end,” Phalatse said.

ALSO READ: City of Joburg loses R300m a day due to load shedding

Nonreliance on Eskom

MMC for Environment and Infrastructure Service Michael Sun said City Power currently purchases 90% of its electricity from Eskom with the balance coming from the Kelvin Power Station.

“The launch of the first phase of the Independent Power Producer Program is the culmination of many hours of diligent work carried out by City Power; and while I am proud of the efforts thus far, this is only the beginning of the multi-party government’s determined effort to shield residents from the socioeconomic poison of rolling blackouts.”

Eskom not viable

City Power CEO, Tshifularo Mashava, said the utility is also currently undergoing an approval process for ministerial determination to procure power on a longer-term basis from IPPs.

“By going out into the market now, City Power seeks to secure extra capacity from diversified energy sources, including solar, gas, battery storage, waste-to-energy, as well as the dispatchable option of gas-to-power.”

“The traditional business model of procuring the bulk of our power from Eskom is no longer viable. Eskom itself has conceded to that effect. It is for this reason that we have developed a sustainable energy strategy that includes procuring power from diverse sources.”

The City of Joburg said the decision follows five-months of consultations with stakeholders, including Treasury, Mineral Resources and Energy, Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, the National Energy Regulator of South Africa and the City of Cape Town.

Joburg losing money due to load shedding

On Tuesday, City Power said the City of Joburg loses in excess of R300 million a day due to the rolling blackouts.

City Power spokesperson Isaac Mangena said the impact of load shedding by Eskom on the city’s resources and infrastructure could not be ignored.

“City Power has lost in excess of over R300 million a day since July to repair and replace failed equipment during the 99 days of load shedding.” Mangena said.

ALSO READ: Does Eskom really share South Africans’ pain of load shedding?