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Mayor’s newsletter for George Herald of 8 June 2023

Our citizens and businesses encounter daily challenges with loadshedding.

On social media it is noticeable how many queries are raised about the delays in switching
on power at the end of loadshedding. Previously, George was able to switch on promptly at
the end of a loadshedding stage. The increased installation of batteries and inverters in
combination with 4-hour stages and winter has resulted in greater peak pressures on the
grid. With these peaks, the municipality now needs to stagger the switching-on in sections
to prevent the electricity demand exceeding the normalised maximum demand that Eskom
is contracted to provide. Every sub-station has a maximum rating, which if exceeded will
result in a trip with potentially serious damage to transformers.

I would like to make an urgent and serious appeal to all households and businesses to only
switch on geysers during off-peak night hours, and to delay turning on inverters, battery
chargers and high consuming appliances (kettles, hairdryers, stoves, heaters, etc) until 5-20
minutes after power has been restored. This is a discipline and habit that we all need to
adopt to avoid that our municipal grid trips resulting in lengthy outages.

The Electro-tech Directorate is already under enormous pressure as they repair almost daily
faults and repairs triggered by loadshedding. Other municipalities are reporting extended
outages resulting from such damage.

It is therefore critical that this message is circulated to your friends and to social media
communication groups of which you are a member.

All businesses are being negatively affected by loadshedding as they lose productive hours
during their working days. It is probably important that they introduce shifts to coincide
with power availability in an attempt to maintain the necessary work output.

The municipality is working non-stop to implement alternative energy solutions to replace
electricity that Eskom is unable to provide. Various smaller projects are underway to supply
3MW of solar power (and battery storage) for own infrastructure (e.g. water treatment and
waste water plants) and to save 4MW through energy efficiencies. We have also
commenced with the construction of a 10MW solar PV plant. On completion of these
projects by the end of 2024, we want to be able to avoid Stage 2 of loadshedding. With the
necessary discipline and assistance of our electricity consumers in managing their own use
we can reduce the daily offtake from Eskom and reduce loadshedding.

Technical and financial feasibility studies are already far advanced as we finalise a project
application (to be lodged shortly) that will exceed R1,5 billion to install additional solar PV
and battery storage equipment to generate sufficient power to avoid Stage 4 of
loadshedding by the end of 2026. We need to focus on these goals.