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Mayor’s Newsletter for George Herald on 20 October 2022

Recently there have been queries about whether sufficient maintenance was being done to our infrastructure. Residents can be assured that the service departments are constantly busy dealing with repairs, maintenance and laudably getting to planned preventative maintenance.

A few weeks ago, a communique went out about the progress being made on upgrading the bulk sewer mains in Wards 11 and 15 in Thembalethu that will allow for the decommissioning of an old sewer pump station while also catering for increased capacity and future housing developments. In the past week, while planned maintenance was being undertaken on a water pipeline in Zone 9, Thembalethu, an unexpected problem occurred while working in difficult conditions resulting in the repair becoming complex and residents experiencing a shortage of water. These are but two examples of work that takes place daily across George.

There is a planned strategy to deal with the maintenance of our electricity networks whereby high-impact equipment has received attention over the past year, with work progressively moving to the medium voltage networks for protection and preventative maintenance. Scheduled maintenance outages are regularly taking place in various parts of George to deal with identified defects.

Continuous bouts of load shedding are affecting our electricity networks, especially from stages 4 and above. While our normal peak usage is at 85 MVA, this can shoot up to 110 MVA when the power is returned after load shedding which negatively impacts on the network. This results in trips or faults occurring requiring maintenance teams to effect repairs often during the night.

Our communications to customers have highlighted the need to switch off appliances during load shedding and only to switch on progressively thereafter to minimise the load factor referred to and damage to installations. We have recently experienced fires at domestic and business premises that appear to be associated with periods of load shedding. Additional care and safety measures should therefore be taken with appliances connected to the circuits.

Recent news reports refer to challenges with water supplies being experienced in the Gauteng cities. Over the past two years, our focus has been to ensure that improvements to and maintenance of infrastructure receive attention. On an ongoing basis, we will be continuing to assess the risks, make forward plans and increase access to data for decision-making purposes.

As our electricity supply woes continue, we are meeting regularly to explore ways in which we can accelerate access to renewable energy sources to provide relief to our business and domestic consumers. We are fully aware of the tough conditions being experienced by businesses that are trying to maintain operation and production levels. Research is ongoing to find technical and financial solutions that will comply with the legal framework within which we operate.

Alderman L van Wyk

Executive Mayor of George