Mayor Mpho Moerane’s claim that Johannesburg’s recent new deal that secured additional power supply capacity of 220MW from the Kelvin Power Station qualifies the City for an exemption of stages 1 and 2 of loadshedding, is patently false.
This comes after Eskom announced the return of stage 2 loadshedding last night, which the City rejects. Further confusion was added when City Power announced their loadshedding schedule, only to later claim there would be no loadshedding for Johannesburg at all. Despite this, residents continue expressing frustration at being shut off according to the loadshedding schedule.
The ‘new deal’ with Kelvin is a glorified two year extension of an existing 20 year contract between the two parties which is set to expire in November. Only in practical terms, has Kelvin supplied a maximum range of 150-250MW, with a daily average of 180MW to the City over the past few years.
At the moment, with Eskom at maximum capacity, their supply to Johannesburg still falls short of 150MW to keep supply afloat. This is where Kelvin’s current average daily supply of 180MW helps to keep the lights on, during non-loadshedding times.
The extension of this contract will only see a realistic maximum supply of 180MW a day. In order for the City to offset loadshedding, Kelvin would need to supply at least 250-300MW a day.
Further to this, the extension of the contract will only be for two years, in accordance with the Municipal Financial Management Act. Taking into account that Kelvin is set for decommissioning in 2026, it would not be a suitable or long-term sustainable source to offset and free residents of Eskom loadshedding.
Kelvin also has its own challenges. Their Plant A has been decommissioned and now relies on Plant B to supplement. In a normal scenario, a fully functional plant A and B of Kelvin would have a combined capacity of 600MW, and is one the main reasons why it will not be able to help Johannesburg offset loadshedding within the next two years.
The DA wants to bring stability to the supply of electricity in Johannesburg, and would do this by actively addressing the backlog of City Power infrastructure, by ensuring adequate budgeting every financial year to repair and maintain ageing equipment, while only agreeing to take over Eskom-supply areas once Eskom has repaired and upgraded their infrastructure in places such as Soweto, Orange Farm and Ivory Park. Further to this, under no circumstances will a DA-led Johannesburg inherit any outstanding debt owed to Eskom whatsoever.
A move like this would give City Power full control over electricity supply across Johannesburg, and enable the DA to move forward with procuring supply from a wider and diverse pool of independent power producers, so that residents no longer have to be solely reliant on Eskom and can start being freed of loadshedding.
Embracing private sector competition would also help drive down the costs of electricity for residents, so that they can keep more money in their pockets.
Only a DA government will get things done in the City of Gold and free the residents of Eskom loadshedding.